Spunky Junkies

Although Margo occasionally has shared songwriting credits with her brother A on the early standout "Misguided Angel" and the new "Musical Key" A Michael has done most of the writing. Timmins states that the interpretation of the lyrics, however, is up to his sister: "There is a collaboration in a sense in that once I write the song and give it over to her, she then has to interpret it to fit her own personality and her own reading of the song, and she also has to find a way into it so she can properly express its emotions. So there is a collaborative process in just taking the song off the page and bringing it to life. And it's becoming a lot easier for us as we go on, because as she understands my songwriting, she becomes a more confident singer, so there's more she can do with the individual songs."

Margo's vocals on Lay It Down are certainly her most assured and forceful yet. Where once she mumbled through songs like a shy and tortured waif, now she purrs almost playfully through "A Common Disaster," "Angel Mine," and "Something More Besides You." Even her lava-lamp phrasing on "Hold On to Me" and the title cut flows with more power.

"Margo has a style," Timmins says, defending his sister's oft-criticized vocals. "It's a very distinctive style and a way of singing that she's developed that's unique. Once you hear Margo you know it's Margo, and that can't be said for too many singers. But at the same time, when you have a sound that's so individualistic, you're going to have some people who don't like it. And if you dislike it, you're really going to dislike it. That's fair enough. We don't expect everyone to like what we do or for everybody to like the way Margo sings. You just learn to deal with the criticism and let it roll off your back."

Still, Timmins bristles slightly when talk rolls around to the Junkies' inability thus far to repeat the success of The Trinity Session. "We were very lucky with that record," he admits. "A lot of fates conspired to make it a bigger record than probably our sound should have allowed. To us, though, that's a part of this whole business: It's a lot of hard work and every now and then catching a break. Certainly we haven't had a bigger-selling record than Trinity, but our records have all sold well and our shows continue to sell well. There will always be an audience out there for what we do. If Lay It Down isn't as big as Trinity, that doesn't concern us that much. We're still making a pretty good living doing what we enjoy.

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