Cover song in movie earns band a new fan

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - TRAVEL - SHEA STEW­ART

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.

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