Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Session: #671 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Session

Why is Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Session on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

An album with a specific, intimate, and special energy to it.

Some stats & info about Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Session

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Canadian Bands, Rock Music, Alt Country, Alternative Pop, College Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was The Trinity Session released? 1988
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #671 out of 1,000

Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Session on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.

What does Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Session mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

This album has such a specific, intimate, and special energy to it. It’s thanks to the performance of the band, of course, but it’s also testimony to great sound engineering. What makes that last statement especially amazing – and perhaps also clarifies why it works so well – is that The Trinity Session was recorded in one night:

Who says you can’t make a great record in one day — or night, as the case may be? The Trinity Session was recorded in one night using one microphone, a DAT recorder, and the wonderful acoustics of the Holy Trinity in Toronto.

As I began to explore alternative rock and college radio as a kid (and I’ll daringly reveal my age here by noting that I entered high school in the fall of 1988), U2 and R.E.M. being my gateway drugs, I’m sure I absorbed The Velvet Underground by way of art rock and college radio before I ever heard that brilliant band’s originals.

I mentioned that because it’s possible that Cowboy Junkies’ incredible, moody, lo fi version of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” might have been the first time I heard a VU song. In any event, it’s the best song on The Trinity Session and something I can play over and over again, especially if I’m in a contemplative or quiet kind of mood. It’s beautiful and a little bit sad and moving and wonderful all at once. And when lead singer Margo Timmins hits that “la la la, la la la lah” part… it’s just great.

There are other covers on The Trinity Session that are nearly as good. “Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis)” is an open hat tip to he that some would call The King back in the day, though “Blue Moon” is of course a standard that dates all the way back to 1934 (originally written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart). The Cowboy Junkies version has a little bit of a Ritchie Valens twang along with a soft and slightly haunting vibe.

When I’m in the mood for things to get really… well, moody, I’ll throw on “Working on a Building,” which matches the albums’ quiet, moody aesthetic with a bluesy element.