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"Trinity Revisited"
Out on Cooking Vinyl

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their seminal album "The Trinity Session", The Cowboy Junkies release a special DVD/CD package entitled "Trinity Revisited", With contributions from Ryan Adams, Vic Chesnutt and Natalie Merchant, the band revisits the album's classic repertoire. The Trinity CD will be packaged in a casebound booklet, which will include 12 colour pages of photos and liner notes. The DVD also includes a documentary entitled The Trinity Session Revisited, a film by Pierre and Francois Lamoureax, in honour of its 20th anniversary.

The band’s Michael Timmins explains the genesis of the DVD: “To celebrate the 20th anniversary of "The Trinity Session" we decided to head back to Toronto’s Trinity Church with the idea of revisiting the album with the benefit of twenty years of experience under our belts. We enlisted a few musicians for whom The Trinity Session had some personal and professional resonance and whose individual work resonates with us. The idea was to cobble together a loose band sound with just a few hours of rehearsal and a one day recording schedule, resulting in the eight of us bouncing ideas off of each other and inspiring one another spontaneously … much the same way that we created the original recording. We came, we played, and the church, once again, did the rest.”

The recording of The Trinity Session was a momentous occasion in, not only, our bands life, but also, our individual lives. The day that the album was recorded, we walked out of the church feeling that we had just participated in something that was much greater than the sum of its parts. The subsequent release of the album and the way that it captured the hearts, minds and souls of so many people in so many different ways, and in so many different parts of the world seemed to indicate that something special did happen in the church that day and, lucky for us, we had a tape deck locked in record. The day after the recording our mother happened to be visiting us while we listened to the playback. After listening for a while she turned to us and said, “your lives will never be the same”…and she was right.

In order to celebrate the 20th anniversary of that very special day we decided to take the risky move of going back to the Church of the Holy Trinity and seeing what twenty years of experience would bring to those same set of songs. Our goal was not to re-do The Trinity Session, but to re-interpret it. In order to give the project an edge we asked along some artists whose own work and lives were in some way affected by Trinity and whose work has also had an affect on our lives and music. Much like the first time around, we kept rehearsal to a minimum. The idea was to cobble together a loose band sound and to let the church and music take over while the tape was running. Ryan Adams, Vic Chesnutt and Natalie Merchant all showed up keen to participate in our little experiment and once again, the church took over.

We couldn’t have dreamed of a better end result for this project. We were all a little astounded at how good things sounded and how easily it was for the eight of us to meld together as a group. The Lamoureux brothers, Pierre and Francois, did an astounding job at capturing the performance on the fly. The DVD looks and sounds beautiful.

Trinity Revisted is a special document celebrating a special day in our lives. Sometimes its unwise to revisit past glories, but sometimes, that’s just what those glories require….enjoy.

Trinity Revisted is a two disc set. One disc is a CD which plays stereo audio like any other CD. The other disc is a DVD which will work in any DVD player or computer. The performance was shot in High Definition Video and recorded at 96K for the highest audio and visual experience. The audio on the DVD was mixed in stereo as well as 5.1 surround sound.

There is also a bonus documentary included on the DVD which features the band along with Jeff Bird and Peter Moore sitting around, getting drunk and talking about the good ol’ days.

1. Mining For Gold
2. Misguided Angel
3. Blue Moon Revisited
4. I Don't Get It
5. I'm So Lonesome
6. To Love Is To Bury
7. 200 More Miles
8. Dreaming My Dreams
9. Working On A Building
10. Sweet Jane
11. Postcard Blues
12. Walking After Midnight

When we were asked to produce a film about Cowboy Junkies revisiting The Trinity Session, twenty years after its release, we felt that we would face a challenge similar to that of trying to make a movie from a great book; sometimes the imagery conveyed by words isn’t easily translated to film. For many years, people have listened to this album and have imagined they’ve visited the Church of the Holy Trinity where its wonderful music was created and recorded. As much as the Holy building has offered solace, refuge, light and hope to generations since it was built, The Trinity Session has had a similar effect on listeners from the time it was released until the present day and like the church, it will continue to do so for generations to come.

It was decided early on that there would be no audience. It was also decided early on that there would be guest musicians invited to the session, just as there had been on the album. Natalie Merchant, Ryan Adams and Vic Chesnutt would bring their own voices and nuances to music Cowboy Junkies have been performing for twenty years. And of course, Jeff Bird, who has been a guest musician with the band for over twenty years, would be present and adding his unique and irreplaceable sound to the music. The musical elements were in place.

We decided that the best way to capture this moment was to have the band play in a circle, all facing one another. Trinity Revisited was meant to be a performance film but we wanted it to feel very much like a documentary and this circle position would enable us to get the glances and stares between the artists as they were singing and performing. We also wanted to capture the sounds, conversations and noise in between the music. Our film and recording equipment would surround the artists from outside and inside the circle and the equipment would become part of the set. Although we did our best to hide cameras and camera crew, we knew they would inevitably spill over into the picture from time to time and become part of the scenery. We did not embrace the fact the crew was there but we did not shy away from a great shot if a dolly happened to be in the dark background behind a singer. The moment was to become more important than the image, and the image would be the moment.

We did not want the church to become a television studio. We wanted to create a space that would enhance the music, much like a live show, but using different lighting instruments and techniques more akin to theatre and film. The key was not only to light the performance and the venue in all of its glory, drama and subtleties but also to make sure that it all translated well onto camera.

We were in the church from three days. Day one was for loading in the equipment, including the musical instruments. Day two was a rehearsal day for the musicians and day three was our recording day. We started to film around 7 pm and finished a little after midnight. It was a Saturday. Part of our rental agreement for the venue called for the church to be restored to its original condition on time for the 8 am service on Sunday morning, only a few hours after we stopped filming. It took us less than four hours to tear down and load out what had taken us three days to create. Like a sandcastle taken over by the rising tide, there were no traces left from our session by the time the parishioners arrived but for those listening carefully during the sermon that morning, the reverberation might have sounded a little sweeter than the previous Sunday. Faint echoes from the night before had blended with those of twenty years ago and they will be heard for many years to come. Those echoes, memories, a few photos and this film are all that remain.

Pierre & François Lamoureux
Toronto, November 2006

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Photo: Susan King
Photo: Susan King
Photo: Susan King
Photo: Susan King
Photo: Susan King
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