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Cowboy Junkies: Demons: The Nomad Series Volume Two

Sad music for very sad times.

American singer songwriter Vic Chesnutt died on Christmas Day 2009. His life had more than its fair share of tragedy. His songs were personal, honest, funny, and occasionally utterly heartbreaking. After he joined Cowboy Junkies for a guest appearance on Trinity Revisited, they planned to record some of his music. This album is the fruition of those plans, a collection of 11 of Chesnutt’s many and varied songs.

Chesnutt was a prolific writer, and even to fans some of these choices may be unfamiliar.

Wrong Piano, one of the standout tracks on Chesnutt’s best album Is The Actor Happy?, opens the album. It says much about his writing that Cowboy Junkies, noted for their luxuriating and indolent style, turn in a comparatively upbeat version.

The real gem is the languid ethereal blues Betty Lonely, a perfect slice of Americana. Somewhere in Twin Peaks, it plays repeatedly on a 50s jukebox.

Allan McLachlan spent the late 70s studying politics at Strathclyde University and cut his teeth as a journalist in the west of Scotland on arts and culture magazines. He moved to London in the late 80s and started his life-long love affair with the metropolitan district as Music Editor on City Limits magazine. Following a brief period as News Editor on Sounds, he went freelance and then scored the high-profile gig of News Editor at NME. Quickly making his mark, he adopted the nom de plume Tommy Udo. He moved onto the NME's website, then Xfm online before his eventual longer-term tenure on Metal Hammer and associated magazines. He wrote biographies of Nine Inch Nails and Charles Manson. A devotee of Asian cinema, Tommy was an expert on 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano and co-wrote an English language biography on the Japanese actor and director. He died in 2019.