When Margo Timmins strolled up to the microphone in her low-cut black cocktail dress, wrapped in a scarlet shawl, with a rusty shock of hair draped over one eye a la Veronica Lake, even if you’d never seen Cowboy Junkies before, there was no mistaking her star power at the Villa Montalvo’s Garden Theatre in the summer of ’09. Timmins and two of her brothers, Michael on guitar and Peter on drums, along with bassist Alan Anton, have been doing the slow boil as Cowboy Junkies since 1985. As its name implies, the Toronto-based quartet specializes in quiet, ultra-slow tunes that might sound comforting to strung-out cowpokes hunkered down around a campfire after a long day rounding up stray dogies. Cowboy Junkies will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Q&A with Margo.
Michael Timmins: I wouldn’t consider myself an audiophile, but there’s nothing like hearing a piece of well-recorded music on an above-average sound system. It’s like hearing it for the first time. Recently, like a lot of people, I’ve been getting back in to vinyl and really enjoying the audiophile pressings that are all the rage these days. But several weeks ago, my 20-year old CD player went down for the last time. I know that the CD is a dying format, but I have several hundred of them in my collection, so I needed a new machine. My first thought was to go to the local big-box store and find some cheap piece of crap to fulfill the need. Then I mentioned that I was looking for a new player to Peter Moore (our audio god), and he turned me on to the Bryston BCD-1. I began to hyperventilate when I saw the price. Peter got me an artist’s deal, which helped a little bit, but I figured I’m in the biz so I should be listening to recorded music as the artist intended it to be listened to. The unit arrived at my front door, I plugged it in, put on “Heart Shaped Box,” cranked it … and … holy-jittering-master-clock … suddenly vinyl almost seems lacking. The depth, intensity and detail of the sound was astounding. My CD collection suddenly has a new life. So if you want to inject some zest into your collection of silvery discs and if you aren’t in any need of your next two months’ mortgage payments, the Bryston BCD-1 is for you.
Video after the jump.