In 1996 the Cowboy Junkies could have gone one of two ways: they could have veered away from their familiar melancholic, somber sound or dug deeper into the groove. They chose the latter. Margo Timmins's distinctively slee... more »py, seductive vocals never sounded better--here she perfects the art of the subtle attack, best exemplified by the radio hit "A Common Disaster." The band knows when to pull back (it lays a spare, delicate foundation for her wispy words on tracks like "Something More Besides You" and the achingly beautiful "Now I Know") and when to let a groove build ("Speaking Confidentially," "Lay It Down," "Come Calling"). "Angel Mine" wears the band's love for country music plainly on its sleeve, and the stunning "Bea's Song" shimmers. A definite highlight in the band's career. --Lorry Fleming« less
In 1996 the Cowboy Junkies could have gone one of two ways: they could have veered away from their familiar melancholic, somber sound or dug deeper into the groove. They chose the latter. Margo Timmins's distinctively sleepy, seductive vocals never sounded better--here she perfects the art of the subtle attack, best exemplified by the radio hit "A Common Disaster." The band knows when to pull back (it lays a spare, delicate foundation for her wispy words on tracks like "Something More Besides You" and the achingly beautiful "Now I Know") and when to let a groove build ("Speaking Confidentially," "Lay It Down," "Come Calling"). "Angel Mine" wears the band's love for country music plainly on its sleeve, and the stunning "Bea's Song" shimmers. A definite highlight in the band's career. --Lorry Fleming
"This is the first CJ album that I purchased. A friend of mine was playing it in her car and I had to do a double take when I heard it. Now, I own every CD that the CJs have done. Honestly...this is the best of all of the CJs albums. Alot of people think that Trinity Sessions is their best. I would strongly disagree. Lay it Down and Pale Sun, Crescent Moon are their two best musically, lyrically and vocally. If you are gonna start, start with Lay it Down and then move to PSCM. This album is one of my top ten CDs in my entire collection (and I have HUGE collection). It is stark and haunting and hits you hard in the gut. Despite criticisms to the contrary Margo's voice is powerful and subtle at the same time. I've seen her live and she can belt it out when she wants. Her restraint is part of the overall CJ ambience.
Frankly, I don't think there is a single band out there in the last 10 years who can even touch the CJs when it comes to lyrics. Maybe October Project got close--but the depth and beauty of the lyrics on this album are amazing.
This is a "must own" album from one of the most underrated bands of the last 20 years."
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 01/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After THE TRINITY SESSION and BLACK EYED MAN, LAY IT DOWN is,in my opinion, the third Cowboy Junkies CD that deserves the 5 starsmark. Thirteen perfect songs, all composed by Michaël Timmins, inthis album with no weakness. Exit Ken Myhr, welcome guitarist JohnKeane as the fifth Cowboy Junkies. Margo Timmins does have thestrange faculty to keep her melancholic voice through different rythmsas if she was flying over the band music. This is peculiarly patent in" Speaking confidentially " ; the rythm of this song is oneof the quickest adopted by the band until then but Margo Timmin'svoice stays in a slow-motion rock'n roll rythm. Absolutelyamazing. You will also find a curiosity in LAY IT DOWN : twoversions of the same song " Come Calling " , the firstversion is supposed to be uttered by a boy ( though sung by Margo ),the second one being called " Come Calling (her song) ". Agreat moment of music. I listen to this CD at least 10 times a yearsince its release and am not tired of it. It's definitely, if like meyou long for quality bands, a CD for your library."
Excellently Written, Excellently Performed
Batmanbrb | Seymour, IN United States | 07/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first discovered the Junkies with the "Black-Eyed Man" release and loved it very much. "Lay it Down" shows the group growing artistically and Margo's voice gets more heavenly all the time. This is easily one of the best releases of the mid 90's!! The title song "Lay it Down" is delightfully haunting - the bass guitar in this song is phenominal as is the dreamy, haunting music to carry the lyrics of the song. "Angel Mine" is an acoustical gem and should have been a #1 radio hit. "Musical Key" and "Lonesome Sinking Feeling" are ballads that highlight the low-key beauty of Margo's vocals. I can't decide which version of the song "Come Calling" I like best. I enjoy "His Version" because it is so uptempo and fun; yet "Her Version" is very haunting and sends chills down my spine like the title cut does. I enjoyed hearing all the string instruments in "Speaking Confidentially". This whole CD is such an acoustical masterpiece - shame on the music buying public for not making this a big hit!! I highly recommend this CD to any Cowboy Junkie fan."
Peter Timmins: Unsung hero of the post-modern love song
Ryan Bissoon | 03/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Timmins may be the most under-appreciated songwriter of his generation. His songs are always graceful, poetic, elegiac contemplation of life, death and love unrequited. He manages to articulate the emotions felt at varying stages of a relationship with gentility and stunning acuity. On this album Timmins isn't just a songwriter he is a poet. The vivid cinematic imagery in "Bea's Song" is almost reminiscent of D.H Lawrence. Margo's voice is its usual seductive blend of smoke and butter-ripple . A voice at once distinctive yet evocative of the best torch singers that came before her. Her delivery is perfect punctuation for the heart-wrenching themes occurring in songs like "Something More Besides You", "Hold on to Me", and "Come Calling." I always felt that her timidity and the reluctance in her voice were the emotional center of Peter's songs. On this album she comes across as a wounded creature brandishing her scars. After "Pale Sun Crescent Moon", Lay It Down I feel is the Junkie's best album. The songs are all little jewels that reveal new and exciting shades and colors on repeat listening. As a songwriter Peter Timmins may not be receiving the accolades he so obviously deserves, but his songs speak to his ability and has an emotional resonance I haven't seen since Dillon."
Best CJ release I've heard yet.
Matt | FL United States | 11/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had heard so many good things about the Cowboy Junkies that I went out and bought a couple of their CDs, specifically "Open" and "B sides...," and was disappointed. One thing I look for when I buy music is good sound quality, and I didn't like the way those CDs were mixed. Margo has such a great voice, and I found that on both CDs her voice was almost totally drowned out by the distorted guitars. This CD on the other hand is *perfect*. The songs are great, the sound quality is great, and Margo's voice is better than ever. My favorite songs are "Come Calling (his song)" and "Musical Key." If anyone's out there trying to decide what Junkies CD to try first, buy this one for sure."