Hi John. I'm a big fan of The Fall records you did, so I was stoked when I learned you were doing a Cowboy Junkies record! I was wondering if you could shed some light on how you got such an amazingly lush rock record in "Miles From Our Home" out of a band that had a history of sweet, minimal roots records.
Doing the record with Cowboy Junkies was an honour to do as I had Trinity Sessions album and loved the whole vibe they created. Miles From Home was nine years later and the band were signed to Geffen and there was some pressure to come up with 'hit' singles and get radio play. All the songs and parts were demoed by Mike Timmins on DA88 and we went out to log cabin out in Ontario away from city where band had been working and rehearsed up. We recorded at McClear Studio 1 in Toronto, which is big Neve/Studer set up but business was mainly advertising and some big film sessions. It wasn't really a 'rock' studio and though a quality place we were glad to get outta there and moved to Chemical Studio in Toronto which was small self run place with API and some old gear and amps and I think band were more at home. All tracking bass and drums and vocals and keys by Vince Jones from Grapes of Wrath was done at McClear. All recording took a month or so and we then moved to Abbey Road to overdub strings and mix in 3 on SSL G where I was used to working at time. The whole band came to mix in London and i was then told some US guy was mixing some tracks for a radioplay single. We finished mixing all tracks and extras and the band returned to Canada. It was only when record came out I saw nearly whole album had been remixed. I couldn't play it for years and felt pretty disgruntled by the whole affair cos somehow it just seemed wrong after all work I'd put in from rehearsal through to the end.
I was recently contacted by a guy writing a book on Cowboy Junkies and i dug out the CD and can now enjoy it years later for its clarity and crunch ! Also back in touch with Mike and hoping to see them in UK. So we're mates again!