At The End Of Paths Taken – Cowboy Junkies

Label: Cooking Vinyl

A shaft of light arriving onto the darkness is always likely to tender the advent of a brand new world. It’s there at our birth and it’s rumoured to be there in the blinding flash of light at the end of a tunnel when we take our terminal breath. It’s there at the edge of salvation and it’s there at the first strike of inspiration. Written and conceived by Cowboy Junkies guitarist, Michael Timmins at the band’s Toronto studio, ‘At The End Of Paths Taken’ sees the descendants of celebrated of mining prospector, Noah Timmins dust off their Stetson’s and their dreamy, alt-country laments to bask in the glow of revelation and redemption, wafting aside the flames that threatened to engulf the band’s previous record, ‘Early 21st Century Blues’ with just enough force to ignite a collection of beautifully intimate songs that curl from the ashes of fear and loss and rise toward infinity and beyond, a smoky, desultory cloud of portentousness sitting like smog amongst it, and the promise of understanding forever a finger-tip out of reach. Not that it’s a world without insight. Whereas ‘21st Century Blues’ went placidly – if blindly and with a slight fury – through the noise and haste of an uncertain world, ‘At The End Of The Paths Taken’ is strengthened by a bedrock of themes that include family, everyday chores and concerns, a father’s stories, issues of the weather and the growth of one’s child. ‘ Brand New World’, ‘Still Lost’, ‘My Little Basquiat’, ‘Someday Soon’, ‘Follower 2’ and ‘Blue Eyed Saviour’ prospect for comfort in a world ground down by slow decline, the Timmin’s wiry, spectral images prowling like ghosts around the ‘crumbling foundations, the stations’ of a no longer prosperous town.

Of course they’re still ringing the melancholy from the mango of life’s rich melancholy and the cancer has spread from the bones to the very soul, but like those about to die Timmins divines consolation from the unlikeliest of sources and hope from a field of former triumphs and fading honours.

A path that forks, definitely.

Release: Cowboy Junkies - At The End Of Paths Taken
Review by:
Released: 09 May 2007