The Austin Chronicle

Record Reviews

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, July 28, 2000, Music

Cowboy Nation

A Journey Out Of Time (Western Jubilee/Shanachie)

In the 20 years that Chip and Tony Kinman have been making music, they've walked their own path. From their years in the Dils, one of the original punk bands, to the prescient of Rank and File, and now with their current project Cowboy Nation, they've always made music that stood independent of trends and possessed a unique vision. A Journey Out of Time is Cowboy Nation's second release and their first for Western Jubilee, a label dedicated to preserving traditional Western music. Joined here by percussionist Jamie Spidel, the Kinmans have taken that folkloric style and adapted it to their own musical vision. They take a classic like "Shenandoah" and seemingly turn it into a mantra, stretching it beyond its intended length into something soothing, yet with an undeniable edge. At times, the album is so quiet one can imagine crickets in the background and the campfire smoking and crackling. But Cowboy Nation knows how to rock a little as well, as on "Two Miles to Town," as close to Rank and File as they get here. Taken as a whole, however, A Journey Out of Time ends up being a bit too laid-back, like the laziest side of the Cowboy Junkies. Some may enjoy this for its enveloping solitude, yet no matter how heartfelt the musicianship and presentation, Tony Kinman's deep vocals lack enough divergent tones, and by disc's end, the entire affair tends toward the monotonous.


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