Over the next 18 months (yes, we’ve amended our initial projection of 12 months), we will be releasing four albums, which will collectively be called The Nomad Series. The idea was born in the tumult of a perfect storm of ideas, influences, inspirations and timing. We have just launched our new website and want to put it through its paces. For the first time in twenty years we are completely free of any recording contracts and obligations, we find ourselves writing and recording more than we have in years, our studio (The Clubhouse) feels more and more like home, the band now has twenty five years under the hood and is sounding so darn good…and then, added in to that mix, our friend Enrique Martinez Celaya, the brilliant and inspired Cuban-American painter, dropped these four spectacular paintings (entitled Nomad) into our laps, and it became clear that we needed to release four albums, with his paintings as our ground. And that we needed the challenge of doing so under an intense release schedule.
But, primarily, the main reason for wanting to do a series of four albums is that, as we steam through our 25th year, we feel that we have the energy and inspiration to pull it off. We have been talking about what to do for our next album release for several months now. Our problem hasn’t been a dearth of ideas, but rather, a surplus. We have over two dozen new songs written, many of which we have been performing live over the past year or so, and many more sketches of songs that are just waiting to be fleshed out. There are also many “alternative” recording projects that we have discussed, which wouldn’t necessarily take the place of a “new-studio-album” release, but which we feel are vital to our health as a band and which we feel would be of interest to our audience (that’s you folks). So, four albums in 18 months seem to be the way to go….
The Nomad Series will break down in the following manner:
Renmin Park (volume 1): a song cycle inspired by a three month stay that my family and I had in China, an other-worldly experience. The album will be comprised of all new original material except for two cover songs written by a couple of legends on the Chinese music scene (a lot more to come about this album over the next several weeks).
Demons (volume 2): for some time now we have been batting around the idea of doing an album of conceptually linked cover songs (anyone who has followed us over the years knows that we love our cover songs and that they are a big part of who we are), but we couldn’t find that key that made sense to any of us. And then, this past Christmas, our friend Vic Chesnutt died. We had been discussing with Vic, off and on for the past couple of years, about doing a Chesnutt/Junkies album. During one of the last conversation that I had with Vic, he mentioned that he was working on a series of songs about his childhood that he wanted to bring to the collaboration. So, it only seems fitting that we record an album of Vic’s songs. His catalogue is so deep and for the most part, so overlooked. It will be a labour of love.
Sing In My Meadow (volume 3): this one is still being discussed and fought over (we are currently conducting an arm wrestling tournament to decide who gets the upper hand in determining its contents) . We need to keep a few options open. You never know when a great concept might suddenly present itself.
The Wilderness (volume 4): this will be an album of new songs. Some of these songs (Angel In The Wilderness, Fairytale, The Confession of Georgie E, etc) we have been playing live for the past year or so and they are bound to find their way on to this volume. There is also a whole set of new songs (and more that are yet to be written) that we will be unveiling on stage over the coming year. We’re not quite sure how these will form themselves into a cohesive album, but these things always work themselves out.
After 18 months and after the 4 volumes are released, we will be releasing a book that will delve into the character, nature, inspiration behind each of the volumes. Enrique’s publishing house, Whale and Star, will design and release the book (they also did our twenty year anniversary book XX).
We are aiming to have Volume 1, Renmin Park, available for sale through the website in late April (it will be in general release a couple of months after that). In the meantime we will be blogging about it and going in to more detail about its genesis and putting up a lot of the works in progress for you to listen to. So check back often (or go to the Cowboy Junkies Facebook page and add us as a fan so that you can be alerted directly, or follow us on twitter CJMusic, or subscribe to one of the other RSS feeds above).
Ok….back to work…oh yea, in the meantime here is a slideshow of Enrique’s Nomad paintings….