July 18, 2005

Junkies and a Bonus

Saturday night, I finally had the pleasure of seeing a band I have loved since college – the Cowboy Junkies. They played at this nice little outdoor amphitheater that is on the bank of the river down town.

Chris and I delivered the child to Grandma & Grandpa for the night (blessed peace and quiet!), gathered up our blanket, camera, drinks, sunscreen & bug spray and headed out. It was a stiflingly hot day – 94 degrees when we left home. We found an awesome spot on the grass, about 15 feet from center stage. The theater faces West, so, at the scheduled start time of 7:00, we were facing right into the sun. Damn, it was hot, but we were so keyed up for the show that it didn't matter.

We got some gyros (which were surprisingly good for that kind of venue) and waited for the show to begin. We were pleasantly surprised when the announcer informed us that there would be an opening act. It was Tracy Bonham. Hmmm...the name sounded familiar but I couldn't place it.

Out onto the stage came this tiny, pretty little gal – probably 5’ tall and 100 pounds, maybe. She and her band launched into their first song and HOLY COW! This woman is a great example of the saying "dynamite comes in small packages." This little musical powerhouse is a classically training violinist and pianist with an amazing voice and very impressive vocal range. Her songs were clever, witty, touching, and insightful, and I was VERY impressed. I finally figured out who she was when she played "Mother, Mother" – a song that I always liked.

Mother Mother, are you listening? Just a phone call to ease your mind
Life is perfect, never better, distance making the heart grow blind

When you sent me off to see the world, were you scared that I might get hurt
Would I try a little tobacco, would I keep on hiking up my skirt

I’m hungry
I’m dirty
I’m losing my mind
Everything’s fine

Oh, yeah! She played on the Lilith Fair tour!

For one of the songs, Butch the drummer came out from behind his set and joined Tracy center stage with a tambourine. Tracy played her violin, and Butch played the tambourine – I mean really PLAYED it. He worked that thing with his fingers and with a stick, pressing it up against the microphone in a manner that make it sound like an entire set of drums. It was simply amazing & I've never seen anything like it.

We enjoyed her performance enormously, and she was rewarded with a standing ovation which prompted her to come back for an encore. Not bad for an opening act – not too shabby at all.

Check out her website. There is an automatic player that plays some of her songs (I am particularly fond of "Shine") and you can even download a few for free. There are some videos you can watch, too.

After we gave up on trying to bring Tracy back to the stage again, Cowboy Junkies took the stage.

The Junkies' new album, 21st Century Blues, is made up of a collection of cover tunes. I was curious as to why they would do this since they obviously are masters at creating their own. Their website explains:

"By the middle of this past February (2005), we had been off the road for a few months, winter had her claws dug in deep, and it seemed like a good time to get together and play some music. An invitation was extended to our older brother John to come and sit in with his guitar. We decided to give our gathering a context: we were all to bring along two or three songs, written by others, and the themes of the songs had to relate to war, violence, fear, greed, ignorance, loss... We hoped to reach a critical mass of material that would reach out and touch a couple of hearts and souls. Our goal was to create our own small document of hope. Over the course of five days we sat in The Clubhouse and interpreted the words and melodies of others. We let the tape run while we played and did our best to channel those early 21st century blues."

I can certainly respect that kind of reasoning. They performed a few of the cover tunes, including a couple by Bruce Springsteen. Margot professed her undying love for "the boss" and practically gushed about him. It was quite cute. I wonder if he knows...lol

Their performance was very, very nice. Margot's voice was as clear and angelic as ever, and the band played flawlessly. It was so nice to finally get to see them.

It turned out to be a lovely night after the sun mercifully dipped down below the city skyline. There were so many different types of people at the show – prime people watching from hippies to yuppies, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves tremendously. It was so nice to be able to head home to relax and not worry about getting the kid to bed at a decent hour, not to mention the prospect of sleeping until whatever hour we wish in the morning.

So, now we can add the Cowboy Junkies to our list of concerts we've enjoyed. I do have to say, however, that Tracy Bonham nearly stole the show.


  1. The Cowboy Junkies are still around? I remember when they first hit it sort of big. Can't remember the name of the song, but I thought they were pretty good. Didn't hear much about them after that.

    Glad you enjoyed the show!

  2. I love that Mother Mother song. Didn't know Tracy Bonham was so cute.

  3. You are right about Tracy Bonham being dynamite in a small package - saw her in Edmonton - was the highlight of the show!

  4. I think it's possible you listen to more Canadian musicians than Canadians here do! lol
    (I also didn't know they were still around.. I find it odd I don't hear about them playing in their hometown (Toronto)).

  5. Hey, she's from Eugene, OR, kewl :op

    I'll have to check out her music, I finally bought speakers for my 'puter, just gotta (try and) hook them up :)

  6. Now, that sounds like an incredible evening!!!

  7. Love the Cowboy Junkies!

  8. Sounds like ya had a great time.

  9. What a GREAT time!!!

    Doing laundry for Zach's trip to the hospital. Should've started this afternoon, but we needed time to play.

    Sorry we didn't have time to talk earlier.

    Miss you.
    I'll call you tomorrow while I'm packing.

  10. Tracy Bonham first spalshed on the national scene in a coffee commercial on TV a few years ago. I forget the name of the coffee but always remembered her.

  11. We have a few open air music festivals in our area and that's the one thing I love about them more thn anything. You go for a specific act and often discover a few gems during the wait.

    Nothing beats a good live show.

  12. Def Leppard is coming out with a cover album this fall, and from what I've heard of it already, it's awesome. I think it's kind of cool to hear the songs that influenced/inspired a band. Might have to check out the Cowboy Junkies cover album for that reason. :)

  13. Wow that's awesome! I love Cowboy Junkies! Never heard of Tracy though, so I'm off to check that site. :)

    Glad you had a good time.

  14. I love the Cowboy Junkies. Tracy Bonham is great also. Glad you had a great time. You deserve it.

  15. Vince - they sure are! You're probably thinking of Sweet Jane. thanks!

    Michael - She is beautiful & that song is awesome.

    Seamus - she sure is and I bet she was! :)

    CB - Yeah, I have a thing for the Cannucks. What can I say? LOL

    Brighton - it was!

    Vicki - I actually thought of you when I saw that. :) Check her out, girl!

    Inanna - it was so nice.

    OW - doesn't surprise me - you have good taste. :)

    Mike - we did. You need a new pic, man - that is so mugshot. LOL

    Tricia - I'll be thinking good thoughts for Zach. You know it.

    Denny - Hmmm...I don't remember that commercial.

    Pete - those kinds of festivals are awesome. I go to as many as possible.

    Julie - oh, sure, now everybody's doing it. LOL

    Jennifer - Thanks! What did you think of her?

    JP - yep, another one with good taste. :) thanks, sweets!

  16. Oh jesus, Tracy is beautiful. That first photo of her is gorgeous. Hmm...another dark haired cutie to dream about...

  17. Never heard the Comboy Junkies, but great sounds from Tracy Bonham. I am so digging her stuff, and her voice is perfect. I guess she's on my shopping list. :)

  18. Hey--sounds like a fantastic night, Hon. :)

    Missing you...

  19. I am envious. Downright so.

  20. Nice! It sounds like an excellent time.

  21. Thanks for talking me down today!

    I'll call you tomorrow.

    You know you mean the world to me!

  22. It's been eons since I've heard them, I really like them.

    Thanx for the eye candy and reminder.

  23. A new pic?.....even after air-brushing the bars outta this one?

  24. Varla - yes, indeed she is! Sweet dreams! ;)

    Spirit - Cowboy Junkies are great - check them out. I ordered Tracy's new CD this week.

    Aimee - it was. Sorry would couldn't talk longer. Miss you, too...soon, hon, I'll be there.

    Cootera - You should have come over for it! (yeah, I should have called you...my bad)

    Sharron - it was!

    Tricia - you did all the talking. lol! You'll be ok and Zach will be fine. Relax.

    Curator - you're welcome. :)

    Mike - well, if you're happy with the mugshot look... LOL