Toronto Sun Newspaper
March 17, 1990
By Bob Thompson

Play it cowboy cool

Placid was how I felt after The Cowboy Junkies' show at a sold-out Massey Hall last night.

It was like being at tranquility base.

It was like the importance of being introspective.

Gee, Junkies' fans even whipped themselves into a state of self-induced serenity.

The concert wasn't consistently docile, however.

In fact, The Junkies jagged occasionally.

Still, the audience was positively passive.

And talking was definitely frowned upon as the group featured soft pop and country-flavoured blues selections from the latest album, The Caution Horses and the band's previous effort, The Trinity Session.

As a bonus, country singer Lyle Lovett joined Margo Timmins and the other Junkies for an encore.

But it was the mannered Junkies' music, highlighted by Margo's lilting vocals and her brother Michael's restrained guitar sketches, that won the night.

For instance, a swooning 200 Miles was nice; as nice as it was when The Junkies' dedicated it to the end of their long '89 tour at the Forum last summer.

Indeed, it was so nice 200 Miles was re-dedicated this time around to all The Junkies' friends who will miss them as they embark on their 1990 world concert journey.

Considerate, wouldn't ya' say.

So was a perky Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning showcasing Margo's singing caresses, and the pedal steel work of Kim Deschamps.

'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel had the twangin' sweet tart at the rodeo inflection down pat.

And Lou Reed's Sweet Jane was throbbing and groovy, and replete with Junkies street sounds thanks to Jeff Bird's mandolin and Jaro Czerwinec's accordion.

Even better was a cover of Lightin' Hopkins' Shining Moon, which was a good excuse for a primary blues jam.

Oddly, a Metro Police car siren from the street outside Massey was the uninvited cue for the jam.

It was funny coincidence, but also revealing.

It underscored that The Junkies really do play it cool.

Opening was Pat Temple and his two High Lonesome Players sidekicks, who passed themselves off as frontier folkies with a hillbilly hankering for porch tunes.

Mostly, singer-guitarist Temple and his bassist and violin fiddler managed to accomplish their goals.

And that despite the fact that Temple wavered from cute to cornpone too often for his own good.

 

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