Cover song in movie earns band a new fan
I can only surmise Natural Born Killers led me to Cowboy Junkies, the Canadian band whose cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” appears in the Oliver Stone film.
This is 1994, so pre-Google — even pre-AltaVista — and music fans stumbled upon different sounds by word-of-mouth, magazines, newspapers, music videos, radio or hearing a tune in a film. So, the Cowboy Junkies’ take on “Sweet Jane” — a nocturnal, dirge-like cover — came into my life because I took a high school date to Natural Born Killers.
The appreciation for Cowboy Junkies lasted; the relationship did not, and soon came a copy of The Trinity Session, their second album, released in 1988 and recorded in one day, using one microphone at a Toronto church.
Of the 12 tracks, which include “Sweet Jane,” six are covers and one more, “Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis),” is a cover of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart’s “Blue Moon” blended with original songwriting from band members Margo and Michael Timmins.
The band also covers Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Dreaming My Dreams With You” (written by North Little Rock native Allen Reynolds and made famous by Waylon Jennings), “Walkin’ After Midnight” and the traditional songs “Mining for Gold” and “Working on a Building.”
Each cover — each song — crawls along with spare instrumentation, creating airy works with Margo Timmins’ ethereal vocals drifting like a languid wisp of smoke. The haunting “Sweet Jane,” which picks up in the last half of verse three, is the best cover here: Timmins’ breathy vocals while singing “waiting for Jimmy down in the alley,” the slippery guitar play and the hushed cymbal shots that quicken as the song crescendos. Heavenly wine and roses indeed.