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Cowboy Junkies

Although it didn't originally have anything to do with their sound, the Cowboy Junkies' name wound up seeming pretty accurate: their music was grounded in traditional country, blues, and folk, yet drifted along in a sleepy, narcotic haze that clearly bore the stamp of the Velvet Underground. The vast majority of their songs were spare and quiet, taken at lethargic tempos and filled with languid guitars and detached, ethereal vocals courtesy of Margo Timmins. Over the late '80s and '90s, the group recorded a succession of critically acclaimed albums that found favor in the alternative rock community.

The Cowboy Junkies were founded by guitarist/songwriter Michael Timmins and bassist Alan Anton (born Alan Alizojvodic), who first played together in a Toronto-based band called the Hunger Project in 1979. They later moved to the U.K. and played with an avant-garde instrumental outfit called Germinal, but eventually grew weary of the group's style and returned to Toronto in 1984. They started jamming with Timmins' brother Peter on drums, and in 1985 they recruited a vocalist in sister Margo, at the time a social worker who'd never sung publicly before. Dubbing themselves the Cowboy Junkies simply because the name had a ring to it, they formed their own independent label, Latent, and released their debut album, Whites Off Earth Now!!, in 1986. Featuring only one original song, the album was recorded using only one microphone, and although it was initially available only in Canada, it helped them land a major-label deal with RCA. Their first widespread release was 1988's The Trinity Session, which was recorded inside Toronto's Church of the Holy Trinity in the span of one night -- again using only one microphone. The Trinity Session became a cult hit, earning rave reviews from critics and substantial college radio airplay for tracks like "Misguided Angel" and their cover of "Sweet Jane."

Now an underground sensation, the Cowboy Junkies decided to concentrate more on Michael Timmins' original material for the bigger-budget follow-up, 1989's The Caution Horses. The album didn't cause quite as much of a stir, although it helped maintain their cult fan base. Released in 1992, the even more countrified Black Eyed Man found Timmins settling more comfortably into his songwriting voice, which set the stage for 1993's Pale Sun, Crescent Moon. Hailed as their finest effort since The Trinity Session, the record bore more influence from rock and blues, and returned the Junkies to critics' darling status. However, it also proved to be their final album of new material for RCA. As the band left for Geffen, RCA issued the two-disc live compilation 200 More Miles and the best-of Studio. Meanwhile, the Junkies debuted for Geffen in 1996 with Lay It Down, a relatively high-volume effort compared to their shimmering early work.

Following 1998's Miles from Our Home, the Cowboy Junkies parted ways with Geffen and revived their own Latent label. Their first release was the 2000 live album Waltz Across America, which was initially available only through the band's website. They followed it a year later with an album of all-new material, Open. One Soul Now followed in 2004. In 2005, the group released Early 21st Century Blues, a collection of covers -- and two originals -- that dealt with "war, violence, fear, greed, ignorance and loss." Recorded in just five days, it harked back to The Trinity Session. Later that year, the band was featured on the Beatles tribute album This Bird Has Flown, which was produced by Jim Sampas and featured various artists including the Donnas and Dar Williams.

Meanwhile, the band was busy collaborating with visual artist Enrique Martinez Celaya on a commemorative art book. Released in 2006, Cowboy Junkies XX was a retrospective piece intended to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary. It featured original watercolors by Celaya, handwritten song lyrics, and photographs gathered from the bandmembers' personal collections. The band released a new album called At the End of Paths Taken in the spring of 2007, followed several years later by the announcement of the so-called Nomad Series, an 18-month cycle that aimed to produce four albums built around common (but separate) narratives. Renmin Park: The Nomad Series, Vol. 1 was released in 2010. Following closely on its heels was 2011's Demons: The Nomad Series, Vol. 2, a covers album featuring songs originally written by the late Vic Chesnutt, the band's longtime friend and occasional tourmate. The third volume, Sing in My Meadow, released later in 2011, featured a live, garage rock sound, while the fourth, The Wilderness, which appeared early in 2012, featured new songs and completed the ambitious Nomad Series project. A box-set featuring all-four Nomad Series albums, plus a disc of extras, also followed in 2012. ~ Steve Huey & Steve Leggett, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

They need some meth or something to wake them up musically
Sweet Jane........ . . . . .
jasonvanderh o r s t
Never understood why they always remained under the radar. Love these guys. Seen them live 6 times. True is the best word to describe them. I mean they covered Dinosaur Jr!
Lou Reed wrote this song. RIP.
CJ Brand: There is no more heart and soul in music than this group. thaks
Cowboy Junkies there's something about Canadians thst maked them brilliant musicians.
This song is so freaking awesome. Bought a cowboy junkies cd just for this song.
241084893
great band have seen them twice over 20 yrs ago
Love this band... such evocative music... Must be those cold Canadian winters...
methreeee
black eyed man was their first cd i bought in the military...i was hooked
methreeee
albums i mean
methreeee
why does the summary mention songs but not the discogrophy
This song is attached to so many achingly sweet memories for me.
melandnate
dont read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible friday by the love of your life. tommorrow will be the best day of your life. however if you do not post this comment to at least 3 songs you will die in 2 days. now youve started reading this so dont stop. this is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when if done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is scary cuz it actually wor
As a truck driver, there's nothing better to listen to in the middle of the night while headin across the country then the junkies. Like all their stuff but have to say 200 more miles is one of their best.
lawyerasset
you are an a**. get a life
dont read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible friday by the love of your life. tommorrow will be the best day of your life. however if you do not post this comment to at least 3 songs you will die in 2 days. now youve started reading this so dont stop. this is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when if done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is scary cuz it actually wor
rge133
Please list and play Sweet Jane by the Junkies...
Used to listen this song all time
Where's Angel Mine?????
sheriguthery
Pandora, Please Play Sweat Jane, it's one of their best :)
jclord
1990 - Margo named one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world by People Magazine. She still is.
Hooked ! saw them in the city - nice
hunybuni
LOVE!!!!
Actually there is a guest vocalist you may have heard of named John Prine, who duets with Margo on If You Were the Woman. The track is on the Black Eyed Man disc which unfortunatel y is not in the discography up there.
jcsnyder7
@animalunit; you are probably thinking of Natalie Merchant on the Trinity Revisited. Otherwise, Margo is it.
chucksheldon
The bio says they named themselves CJ 'simply because the name had a ring to it'...I was under the impression that they named themselves after Townes Van Zandt's 'Cowboy Junkies Lament', but after a little research I realized I was wrong...Town e s wrote the song specifically for CJ. You learn something every day...
been a fan since the mid 80's. seeing them live takes the appreciation to a whole new level. if you like them, check out blue rodeo another great canadian band.
there is only one singer in the band. you might have heard a track that had a guest vocalist, but i know of none. it is all margo.
margot is great but who is the second female voice of the cowboy junkies?
I discovered the Cowboy Junkies 15 years ago and I 've a big fan since then.
anneshie
Am sure it is Natalie Merchant singing, the voices are so similar?
jim4223
Long time fan, saw them in concert in 2010, great show. Margo is great, but brother Michael very much underrated as guitarist and writer.
Great song, and not at all a bad rendition..
jutzguyton
This is one of my all time favorite songs. I love Cowboy Junkies!!!
I do like this song by this group and not much more. I've bought their stuff and regretted it.
For once they actually do sound just like Mazzy Star!
takes me back!
sunnysideupc r e a t i o n s
YUCKKKKKKKKK K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K K ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
love it feel it
my fave these days
rougesk1488
Digin 'em but "Powderfinge r " , think they should leave this one to Neil!
In the song "To Love Is To Bury" she sounds like Natalie Merchant, that deep husky voice sounds great.
mgibson26
I was 15 when I 1st heard this band........ . . . . . I was hooked
anevilparrot
Such a sleepy, yet seductive voice, love you Margo.
@Some Internet Guy - Hey, I know what you mean but... If I was in a band that cut 12 albums I'd feel on top of the world :)
Her voice is like coming down from a bad trip - and I do not mean a car trip, or boat trip or a train trip - I mean a trip in the sky with a chick named Lucy who wore diamonds.
austinlaquin t a 1 9 3 1
Above Fair.
She's definatley got a beautiful voice.
They should ditch Trinity Revisited, and get The Caution Horses (1990) and Black Eyed Man (1992).

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