Amen Dunes’ Love took close to a year and a half, 16 musicians, and five different studios to complete. It was a song cycle that required broad experimentation before it was clear what was essential underneath the surface. In that process, much of the sound that might have made it onto the album was lost. There was just too much to say for one record.
Cowboy Worship is an attempt to give life to some of the music that didn’t make it past the scalpel. From a blown-out version of “Green Eyes” featuring Harvey Milk’s Stephen Tanner, to a darker and mellower “I Can’t Dig It” as Damon McMahon originally arranged it upon writing the song in China, many of the original intentions for the music that were lost in the Love sessions are revived. In addition is a band version of Through Donkey Jaw’s “Lezzy Head,” featuring Dunes mainstays Jordi Wheeler and Parker Kindred, and most significantly, a shining cover of This Mortal Coil’s interpretation of the Tim Buckley classic, “Song to the Siren,” featuring Ben Greenberg (Hubble) on guitar.
Tim Buckley, along with several other singers, from Elvis Presley to Marvin Gaye to Tim Hardin, were the beacons that guided the making of Love. McMahon’s cover of “Song to the Siren” is an homage to the spirit that directed those original sessions.
One description that seemed to work for Love was that it was an album of devotional music, and even more specifically, a type of devotional music McMahon called cowboy worship.
Cowboy worship as a concept certainly did not begin with Love, but instead Love began with cowboy worship, was born from it, and in turn added a new link to the chain.