Q - 3/96, p.934 Stars
- Excellent - "...their starkest, most vital album since 1988's...TRINITY SESSION...reintroduced room atmospherics to rock production..."
Musician - 4/96, p.88
"...Margo Timmins and company continue to craft the eerily hushed folk-rock that sounds so right late at night and inspires goosebumps in the daytime..."
Cowboy Junkies: Margo Timmins (vocals); Michael Timmins (guitar); Alan Anton (bass); Peter Timmins (drums).
Additional personnel: John Keane (pedal steel guitar, guitar); Andy Carlson, Peter Schab (violin); Carl Schab (viola); Dave Henry (cello); Tim White, Jeff Bird (organ).
Recorded at John Keane Studios, Athens, Georgia in June and July 1995.
Cowboy Junkies' sixth album finds the band reclaiming the jazz-tinged, ethereal mood-rock that is their forte. Margo Timmins' pensive soprano suits her brother Michael's mostly somber songs to a tee on this fine collection. The album's hushed recording style enhances the up-tempo material as well; the results can be almost Stones-y in spots. In fact, much of LAY IT DOWN's allure can be credited to the reemergence of Michael Timmins' guitar work as a prominent force within the group. He plays in a stripped down style that's both funky and reserved, always appropriate for the song's setting. LAY IT DOWN, the band's first release for Geffen Records, is evidence of the Cowboy Junkies' return to form.
Personnel: Margo Timmins (vocals); John Keane, Michael Timmins (guitar); Peter Schab, Andy Carlson (violin); Carl Schab (viola); David Henry (cello); Tim White , Jeff Bird (organ); Peter Timmins (drums).
Audio Mixer: John Keane.
Recording information: John Keane's Studio, Athens, GA (06/1995-07/1995); Studio 306 (06/1995-07/1995); The Gas Station, Toronto, Ontar (06/1995-07/1995).
Photographer: Guzman/Rotterdam Conservatory Orquesta Tipica.
Released in 1996, this CD definitively answers a question that has occasionally plagued the Cowboy Junkies: yes, they sound good, but can they rock? Though still laden with the melancholia that has marked previous efforts, this CD is sonically dense, guitar-drenched, and good at high-volume levels. Margo Timmins' voice has never been more expressive, and the lyrics shimmer with intensity. Although the band has occasionally touched on quiet moments reminiscent of fellow Canadian Neil Young, little they have done before this album approached the emotive wail of his louder efforts. The Cowboy Junkies have proven their versatility while retaining their unique sound. ~ Jeff Crooke