Last spring the Cowboy Junkies realized that being without a record contract meant they were free to release as much music as they wanted to on their own label. Feeling exceptionally productive, they launched the Nomad series, which will see the Canadian icons release four albums over 18 months. Demons, the second in the series, lacks the raw, ragged glory of Renmin Park, the first instalment, but there’s still a lot to love here.
Demons pays tribute to the band’s friend Vic Chesnutt, who passed away last winter before they had a chance to record the collaborative album they’d long talked about. The Cowboy Junkies have a great track record with cover songs, so doing an entire album of Chesnutt songs isn’t much of a stretch for them. Sonically, Demons has a lot in common with Renmin Park, although this disc feels a bit more produced. It’s a touching tribute, to be sure, but we wish they’d left a few more of the rough edges in this time.
Top track: Ladle