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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. In 2013, the band presented a recording of Toronto poet Scott Garbe's The Kennedy Suite, a song cycle centered on the 1963 assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. While only one song on the set is fully credited to the Cowboy Junkies proper, its various members participated throughout and Michael Timmins is listed as co-producer.

In August of 2015, Timmins announced another box set. Notes Falling Slow included remastered versions of three albums recorded during the first decade of the 21st century -- Open, One Soul Now, and At the End of Paths Taken. It also featured a fourth disc of new recordings. Songs written for these three albums were left unfinished until this project was assembled. A video for the title track and "Cold Evening Wind" were pre-released that month, followed by a series of podcasts where Timmins discussed several songs. The box was issued at the end of October 2015. ~ Steve Huey & Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Nomad Series

Disc 1

1. Intro

3. Sir Francis Bacon At The Net

4. Stranger Here

5. A Few Bags Of Grain

6. I Cannot Sit Sadly By Your Side

7. (You've Got To Get) A Good Heart

8. Cicadas

9. Interlude

10. My Fall

11. Little Dark Heart

12. A Walk In The Park

14. Coda

Disc 2

1. Wrong Piano

2. Flirted With You All My Life

3. See You Around

4. Betty Lonely

5. Square Room

6. Ladle

7. Supernatural

8. West Of Rome

9. Strange Language

10. We Hovered With Short Wings

11. When The Bottom Fell Out

Disc 3

1. Continental Drift

2. It's Heavy Down Here

3. 3rd Crusade

4. Late Night Radio

5. Sing In My Meadow

6. Hunted

7. A Bride's Price

8. I Move On

Disc 4

2. Idle Tales

3. We Are The Selfish Ones

4. Angels In The Wilderness

5. Damaged From The Start

6. Fairytale

7. Staring Man

8. The Confession Of Georgie E.

9. I Let Him In

10. F**k, I Hate The Cold

Disc 5
x

Track List: Wilderness

1. Unanswered Letter (For JB)

2. Idle Tales

3. We Are The Selfish Ones

4. Angels In The Wilderness

5. Damaged From The Start

6. Fairytale

7. Staring Man

8. The Confession Of Georgie E

9. I Let Him In

10. F**k, I Hate The Cold

x

Track List: Demons

1. Wrong Piano

2. Flirted With You All My Life

3. See You Around

4. Betty Lonely

5. Square Room

6. Ladle

7. Supernatural

8. West Of Rome

9. Strange Language

10. We Hovered With Short Wings

11. When The Bottom Fell Out

x

Track List: Renmin Park (The Nomad Series, Volume I)

1. Intro

3. Sir Francis Bacon At The Net

4. Stranger Here

5. A Few Bags Of Grain

6. I Cannot Sit Sadly By Your Side

7. (You've Got To Get) A Good Heart

8. Cicadas

9. Interlude

10. My Fall

11. Little Dark Heart

12. A Walk In The Park

14. Coda

x

Track List: At The End Of Paths Taken

1. Brand New World

2. Still Lost

3. Cutting Board Blues

4. Spiral Down

5. My Little Basquiat

6. Someday Soon

7. Follower 2

9. Blue Eyed Saviour

10. Mountain

11. My Only Guarantee

x

Track List: One Soul Now

1. One Soul Now

2. Why This One

3. My Wild Child

4. From Hunting Ground To City

5. The Stars of Our Stars

6. Notes Falling Slow

7. No Long Journey Home

8. He Will Call You Baby

9. Simon Keeper

10. The Slide

x

Track List: Radio One Sessions

1. Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning

2. Thirty Summers

3. You Will Be Loved Again

4. 'cause Cheap Is How I Feel

5. Powderfinger

6. Black Eyed Man

7. Last Spike

8. Townes' Blues

9. Common Disaster

11. Lonely Sinking Feeling

12. Lay It Down

x

Track List: Open

3. Bread And Wine

4. Upon Still Waters

5. Dark Hole Again

6. Thousand Year Prayer

7. I'm So Open

8. Small Swift Birds

9. Beneath The Gate

10. Close My Eyes

x

Track List: Miles From Our Home

1. New Dawn Coming

2. Blue Guitar

3. Miles From Our Home

4. Good Friday

5. Darkling Days

6. Hollow As A Bone

7. Someone Out There

8. The Summer Of Discontent

9. No Birds Today

10. Those Final Feet

x

Track List: Pale Sun Crescent Moon

1. Crescent Moon

2. First Recollection

3. Ring On The Sill

4. Anniversary Song

5. White Sail

6. Seven Years

7. Pale Sun

8. The Post

9. Cold Tea Blues

10. Hard To Explain

11. Hunted

12. Floorboard Blues

x

Track List: The Trinity Session

1. Mining For Gold

2. Misguided Angel

3. Blue Moon Revisited (Song For Elvis)

4. I Don't Get It

5. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

6. To Love Is To Bury

7. 200 More Miles

8. Dreaming My Dreams With You

9. Working On A Building

10. Sweet Jane

11. Postcard Blues

12. Walking After Midnight

x

Track List: Whites Off Earth Now!!!

1. Shining Moon

2. State Trooper

3. Me And The Devil

4. Decoration Day

5. Baby Please Don't Go

6. I'll Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive

7. Take Me

8. Forgive Me

9. Crossroads

Comments

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Why isn't Black Eyed Man Album in the discography? One of their best
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Hi every body merry chrismas
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Miles From Our Home, very catchy tune!
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Saw them at Chatauqua in Boulder in 2008, perfect barn like venue for seeing this band.
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Mazzy Star.... A bit similar?
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Pandora... Play more CJ .... Love love love them!!!!!
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All I know is they touch my soul.
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bobonnit

They need some meth or something to wake them up musically... .
DAMN this bobonnit guy is such a LOSER
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richardgvest j r
Drove around Kauai listening to this check on my honeymoon with a beautiful red headed Texas woman in her Mercedes Benz ragtop couldn't ask for a better honeymoon brings back awesome memories
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gentle flow of the soul love it ...........K a t h e r i n e Sophia...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone iPhone
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Don't read this


You'll be kissed on the nearest Friday and tomorrow will be the best day of your life however if u don't post this on 5 more songs in 143 min you'll die in 2 days now don't stop reading finish that then press f6 and your loves name will apper in big letters. Have a good day
Report as inappropriate
H mm? Was talking about the song sweet jane from movie natural born killers!!!
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One of my favorites from them, love it... soundtrack from that movie natural born killers too??
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Still awesome
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K-Boom!
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Still Art! When you play read music write songs do all that!!!! Only then may you speak! Kaaa beesh!
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Art!.
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Their band name was more popular than anything they ever release. Their talent was weak and unimpressive . It was hard to pin this group to any real sound which and because as a group never mastered.
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Solomente
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saw them at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall late 90's.....fan t a s t i c c
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amye45
freakin far out cover of Sweet Jane
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Love blue moon revisited. Please list it!!!
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I love this band. They been around in firm or another since the late 70s and I was in high school from 78- 82
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I love the Cowboy Junkies. Their music is an ethereal escape from the doldrums of life that gives you space to think.
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krj972
Wow, if it was music made past 1979 the ubiquitous Bobonnit hates it. Go listen to some Lawrence Welk, old man.
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They need some meth or something to wake them up musically
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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!
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Lou Reed wrote this song. RIP.
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CJ Brand: There is no more heart and soul in music than this group. thaks
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Cowboy Junkies there's something about Canadians thst maked them brilliant musicians.
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This song is so freaking awesome. Bought a cowboy junkies cd just for this song.
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241084893
great band have seen them twice over 20 yrs ago
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Love this band... such evocative music... Must be those cold Canadian winters...
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methreeee
black eyed man was their first cd i bought in the military...i was hooked
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methreeee
albums i mean
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methreeee
why does the summary mention songs but not the discogrophy
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271998418
This song is attached to so many achingly sweet memories for me.
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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
Report as inappropriate
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.
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lawyerasset
you are an a**. get a life
Report as inappropriate
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
Report as inappropriate
rge133
Please list and play Sweet Jane by the Junkies...
Report as inappropriate
Used to listen this song all time
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Where's Angel Mine?????
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sheriguthery
Pandora, Please Play Sweat Jane, it's one of their best :)
Report as inappropriate
jclord
1990 - Margo named one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world by People Magazine. She still is.
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Hooked ! saw them in the city - nice
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hunybuni
LOVE!!!!
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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.
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