Mariner's Song

Cowboy Junkies:  Mariner's Song

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

"Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning."

artists:  Cowboy Junkies

songwriters:  Cowboy Junkies

date released:  1990 by Cowboy Junkies

 Cowboy Junkies are an alternative rock/country/blues band which hails from Toronto, Canada.  The group was formed in 1985 by Michael, Margo and Peter Timmins (all siblings) and Alan Anton.  The Timmins siblings are descendants of Noah Timmins, the mining prospector for whom the town, Timmins, Ontario, was named.  Another sister of this talented family was Cali Timmins, who began an actress starring in the production, "Ryan's Hope".

After an inauspicious start, the band received critical attention with their second album, "The Trinity Session", which was recorded in 1987 in the Church of the Holy Trinity in downtown Toronto.  The single, "Sweet Jane", was later released from the album whose unique mix of musical genres soon won the band a devoted cult following. 

"Mariner's Song" is set to the lilting melody of a ukulele background which embodies the movement of waves on an ocean.  Like love, the song ebbs and flows in rhythm, contrasts and chiastic structures:  "In the storm, you are my destination; in port, you are my storm."  Like a mariner, the lover invokes the mariner's "red sky" from the old adage:

"Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Red sky in morning, sailor's warning."

A red sky at night signals good weather the following day.  The opposite, a red sky at night, presages rain or stormy weather.  It's not much different from love, don't you think, except that love gives fewer warnings---"in every crest and in every trough"; "in port and the storm"---that's what it all boils down to.  This blogger thinks the Junkies got that one right; love is truly one of man's "great unchained beasts."