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Cowboy Junkies


Country of origin:

Canada

Type of music generally:

Surreal/rock (with a country tinge). (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

Atmospheric blues? Languid folk rock? (Could arguably also be mainstream or alternative pop.) (7/00, neal)

Status:

Most recent release, The Wilderness: The Nomad Series Volume 4 (2012)

See also:

You can get all the Junkies news you want at their official web page. It's very fan-oriented, and gives a sense of how warm and down-to-earth the band is.

Comparisons:

uhhhh...none. (Edie Brickell on ludes???). (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

Covers/own material:

They do a mix of covers and originals. The older albums featured a much larger number of covers, while the new ones are mostly originals. The covers are usually so dramatically re-invented that you wouldn't guess they were originally performed by someone else. (7/00, neal)

General comments:

Canada's best band.. period. Ah...I love Cowboy Junkies...I have...let me see...8 of their CDs...and I know there's a compilation or two that I don't have...I don't know who you could compare them to either...I wouldn't say October Project though...I'd say theirs is my favorite version of "Sweet Jane", I think my favorite song of theirs though is "Misguided Angel". (sspan)

There should be a name like ectoguide editors syndrome for this "problem". While editing this page, I repeatedly read comments from myself and others saying they couldn't understand why they didn't have more Cowboy Junkies recordings. I figured there really wasn't any reason for that, and went straight to the Cowboy Junkies's web site, where I was amazed at how cheap the discs were. So I bought them all. End of problem. Now I'm having a marvelous time listening to them while working on these pages. I can honestly say there isn't a bad album in the lot. There are different flavors and textures to them, and some I like more than others, but you are guaranteed several knock-out songs on even the weakest album. That's a pretty impressive track record in my book.
     One thing I particularly like about Cowboy Junkies songs is how vividly they paint a picture. Sometimes a portrait, sometimes a landscape, sometimes few scattered photos from different scenes. Whatever the subject, the words seem so completely realized, and then the voice and arrangements add additional textures. (7/00, neal)

Cowboy Junkies music is rooted in blues, folk and country styles in the vein of Hank Williams. But they bring it all down to the quietest, most melancholic, dusty, lonesome, small-town sadness imaginable. Defined by Michael Timmins' keen ear for country-flavoured melodies and narrative-lyrical outlook on claustrophobic small-town life and his sister Margo Timmins' angelic alto, the band has garnered a large-enough following to make them one of the most successful cult bands in the world. Yet, their contemplative waltzes have found more of an audience amongst fans of The Velvet Underground, Dinosaur Jr. and/or David Sylvian as Cowboy Junkies' brilliance is far beyond the thinking levels of your average fan of Garth Brook's brand of over-energized country pop.
     Cowboy Junkies are clearly one of the most original and interesting bands of the past twenty years. They have created music most similar to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash (the godfathers of country) and they have certainly been, by far, the most original of any country-flavoured act to emerge in recent times. Their realm of lonely highways, romantic disillusion and dusty small-town life is far more artistic and innovative than new country-pop's meandering expulsion of excess energy. They are already showing signs of tremendous influence. (8/00, RedWoodenBeads@aol.com)

People often complain that all their songs sound the same, but that's really unfair. Michael Timmins is an underrated songwriter and Margo just has one of the best voices in creation. Everyone should own at least one Cowboy Junkies album. (nnadel@hotmail.com)

i'm a pretty new discoverer myself. i saw them playing on tv over the summer, and i went out and got their album miles from our home which i love and later i got B-Sides, Rarities and Slow Sad Waltzes. (JoAnn Whetsell)

They are my second favorite artist(s). I have all their albums. They are originals and they are artists. I love these guys. Michael writes what I think are the best damn lyrics around right now and the music is always so interesting. (ftedan@radiks.net)

The Cowboy Junkies are my favorite band of all time. The Trinity Session, their first commercially released album, and Whites Off Earth Now, their older album, later re-released, alternate as my favorite albums. Their music can evoke emotions in me like no other can. (dgp@TheWorld.com)

I definitely agree with the praise that's directed toward the Cowboy Junkies. I just bought two of their CDs today, The Trinity Session and Whites Off Earth Now. Phew, what a listen." (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

Comments about live performance:

I've always thought the Junkies had a nice sound, but was never sure it would work for a whole album (which is why I'd never bought one). I was convinced tonight, as they played a wonderful 90-minute set. There's not too much to say about them live. It's just like you might expect given their music and that they perform it well. There were only 4 people in the band, which was apparently more stripped down than usual, so the arrangements weren't as complicated. There was more variety than I expected, too, with songs ranging from poppier to bluesier to more rocking, but all still within the confines of the Cowboy Junkies sound. Though there are really only two different types of songs, those Margo sings standing up, and those she sings sitting down. (She joked that the new songs were still so fresh that she didn't know which ones to sit for.)
     People had bought her a couple of bouquets of flowers, which added a nice touch to the stage, particularly the lovely white roses. She came out and adjusted them before starting in on the first song. She joked that it was strange to be invited to play a New Years show. Usually they want bands that are a bit happier. Apparently 9:30 approached them while they were putting the finishing touches on their next album, so they were a bit rusty on playing live. Margo claimed to have a really terrible memory, and had a book of lyrics in front of her. I was a bit put off by that at first, but she made jokes about it herself, and didn't seem to use it much. People would yell out songs, and she'd say "I'm sorry, I only know the songs in the book." She did tell a funny story about forgetting every single line of "Sweet Jane" on a Canadian radio broadcast.
     I was quite impressed with the show, and think it may be time to fill in that Cowboy Junkies hole in my collection. It sounded like I probably couldn't go wrong with any album, though I may wait for the new one, since I did get to see the first live performance of those songs. I was also impressed that Margo promised to come out afterwards to sign stuff and chat with anyone who wanted to hang out. She was very warm and personable. (12/97, neal)

It was interesting to see the way the Junkies appropriated members of Over The Rhine during the show: on several songs they were accompanied by three or four members of the other band: Karin Bergquist (the lead singer), the backing vocalist, the keyboard player, and the lead guitarist. I liked the Cowboy Junkies so much I was almost ashamed to have only one album of theirs (Pale Sun, Crescent Moon). After the show I ran right out and bought Miles from our Home, basically on the strength of "Summer of Discontent," which, despite the fact that I'd never heard it before, riveted me. (That was even without making out the words—now that I've read them I'm completely bowled over.) (9/98)
      Cowboy Junkies seemed really "on" and happy to be in New York City. Margo would occasionally see someone she recognized in the audience and wave—I like the way she makes you feel as if each person in the audience is important to them.
     Some of the songs of theirs I like best—e.g., "Crescent Moon" and "Anniversary Song"—were arranged in ways I didn't like as much as the recorded versions, and they didn't play "Summer of Discontent." On the other hand, other songs were real killers: I was standing pretty much right in front of the speaker on the right side, and during "Common Disaster" it was as if Michael Timmins' guitar had just knocked my head to one side, reached inside my chest and started tugging on things in there. It's not often I'm able to experience such pure ecstatic pleasure in public. And the closing number, by Townes van Zandt, created this incredible musical ambience that I wished would never stop. Anyone know what it was?
     Margo had some charming stories, one about staying in the "Tip O'Neill Suite" in a hotel in Boston, and about how a Canadian radio station once tried to ban their song "Misguided Angel" for encouraging Satan-worship ("So we're going to do this song now, our satanic song...since you all are from New York City, we thought you would understand..."). (1/99)
     I went to see last night's show in New Jersey. The first half was material from the Nomad series; the last from familiar material. Renmin Park and Demons both got two songs each, with three from Sing In My Meadow and only one from The Wilderness. Margo was apologetic about loading up so much new material into the set list, but it's pretty accessible. I'd say Vic Chesnutt's "Flirted With You All My Life" was the highlight for me there.
     The second half featured a version of "Hunted" delivered with a fury that raised the roof. Margo was spitting nails, and the normally elegant Jeff Bird's face twisted into expressions I've never seen before as he thrashed the mandolin to within an inch of its life. Other songs: "Sweet Jane," "Working on a Building," "This Street," "Common Disaster," "Good Friday," "Misguided Angel."
     Since we were right around the corner from Asbury Park, it was natural that "Thunder Road" was loudly requested from the audience at encore time. (Also "Open"—does that have something to do with NJ?) They settled for another Bruce Springsteen song, "State Trooper," which got close to the peak set by "Hunted."
     The show closed with another song off The Wilderness, "Fuck I Hate the Cold," the only Cowboy Junkies song I can think of that provokes laughter. (2/12, psfblair@ix.netcom.com)

Margo was in wonderful spirits tonight and Michael seemed to come out of his shell a bit...it was the usual languorous Junkies show but with some added kick as Michael and Jeff Bird went on some ripping solos...like Neal, I feel so badly that I haven't bought all of their albums...I definitely need to pick up Miles from our Home.
     During the encore, Margo attempted to sing "Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning" but she forgot the words after the first verse...while her brother kept playing the song, she tried to find the lyrics in her black folder that she keeps by her side and was dropping sheets all around her looking for the words...she gave up, composed herself, and started the song again and squeaked out all the words with a few stumbles, finishing to a rousing ovation...
     I loved the addition of Karin on vocals and acoustic guitar and Linford on keys and organ on some of the Junkies' songs...the arrangements throughout the show, especially a stripped down version of "Anniversary Song" were cool...I did miss the cellist who played with them back when Lay it Down came out in 1996 :)
     one thing that i've noticed every time i've heard or seen the Junkies live is that Margo always seems to be a leeeeetle bit off key when she sings...it happens often enough that I wonder if they need a better monitor guy or what...but she's still so nice, i'll have to let it go... (1/99, paul2k@aol.com)

It was a lovely night. The band in good form, Margo's voice just as gorgeous as it is in the studio and a politely enthusiastic crowd. The set was not quite what I expected—I thought it would be heavily based on the new record, but no, perhaps mindful of the fact that this was the first time they ever visited Australia they covered their whole career with just 4 songs from Miles from our home thrown in. Margo is quite a comedian, with a deadpan delivery—the intro to "A common disaster" involving Neighbours (our local soapie) was very funny indeed, though a bit too long to quote here. Just trust me on this :). I'm glad that these two people from Over the Rhine made it to this leg of the tour, the keyboard player did an excellent job and Karin's background vocals really enriched the sound. One strange detail—the drummer sat separated from the rest by a sheet of glass reaching to about his chin. I've never seen a set-up like this before, and I was wondering whether there was some acoustic-related reason or do they just like the look? All in all, event worth seeing. (1/99, afries@zip.com.au)

one of the most unique-sounding bands around, the cowboy junkies lived up to their rep as a great live act. by at times incorporating various members of over the rhine and the immensely talented jeff bird into their lineup, they were able to cover the many varied facets of their recording career.
     margo timmins was in exquisite voice, at times languid and bittersweet, and at times smoky and husky and determined as on their phenomenal cover of robert johnson's "me and the devil" (a set highlight, which allowed the musicians to stretch their chops a bit, gradually building the song into a barely controlled frenzy). lazily draping herself over the microphone, margo gave a powerful performance, expertly communicating the depths of emotion in her brother's wonderful lyric-writing.
     a major joy of the show was hearing the oft-overlooked talent of michael timmins as a guitarist. his sitar-like spiraling of notes on the extended solos on "blue guitar" and "me and the devil" was extraordinary. (cjmacs@micronet.net)

I've liked the Junkies for 10 years, but this was my first time seeing them live. Where the hell have I been?!? Over The Rhine were nice, but the Junkies simply blew me away. Margo Timmins is a goddess. Can't wait to see them again! (meth@smoe.org)

I just saw them in Kansas City and as usual, they were incredible. (2/00, ftedan@radiks.net)

I caught the end of the Waltz Across America tour in Ottawa, and was entirely blown away. Their slower stuff was full of subtly restrained rage and passion, and their more rockish stuff was just an all-out assault. My girlfriend, who's not much of a music fan, basically convinced me after the show to go and buy a handful of their CDs (which didn't take too much convincing—I'd always been fond of their stuff and had never just gotten around to buying any, and I was also really impressed by the show.) (00, iclysdal@redmaple.yi.org)

I was also at this unusual Cowboy Junkies show and can elaborate, and I agree that the amount of loud songs and lengthy jams, including a 15-minute-long "Lay It Down " early on, was really out there.
     They just did a stint through the southeast and were in Florida when the attack happened. They'd had a few weird and depressing nights earlier in the week (details in the tour diary on their site) and doom and gloom was in the air. I'm sure we can all relate to being deeply disappointed with humanity, if nothing else... They too were in low spirits Tuesday night and it seemed they were releasing a lot of anger through the music.
     Anyway, back to where Paul took off. After "First Recollection" it was back to anger in the form of "Bread & Wine," a tune about adultery, that had Margo again practically spitting out the vocals and the band rocking hard behind her.
     Then into the rarely played Townes Van Zant cover "Lungs" that kept things cookin'. Next up was "Something More Besides You" which spaced out a bit and relaxed the tension.
     They began the 2nd two-thirds of their River Trilogy with "Bea's Song", which was the only semi-mellow song in the show and this transitioned into an astounding 13-minute-long "Draggin' Hooks" that pulverized what was left of anybody. Another terrific guitar solo from Michael that soared and screamed like he didn't want to stop.
     "Miles From My Home" followed and then the usual band/crew intros before saying goodbye and launching into another meltdown of a jam with "Murder In The Trailer Park" into "Hunted." Each of these tunes were the most aggressive tunes on the albums on which they appeared and they both smoked with anger here.
     The relatively small crowd (I'd guess 500 tops) enthusiastically got them back for an encore of covers. First was the Cowboy Junkie's rarity "Highway Kind", which they recorded for a Townes Van Zant Tribute CD, followed by Springsteen's "Thunder Road."
     I've seen this band too many times to remember, but I can say it was the most agressive Cowboy Junkies show I've ever heard and possibly one for the books in Cowboy Junkies lore. (9/01)
     The CowboyJunkies were playing plenty of the new album, which I already raved about last time. It was equally great, if not better live and some older material I had never really got a handle on, blew me away. Primarily the title cut of their "Lay It Down" album. This became a swampy 14-minute jam with Michael off in deep guitar space. At times it was easily as "out there" as early Pink Floyd. He even got a standing ovation after this lengthy guitar solo, something I've never seen happen at a Cowboy Junkies show. Actually, they wasted no time getting to heavier electric material by opening with "Murder In The Trailer Park," a tune rarely played anymore and usually reserved for late in the show when it was played. (ABershaw@aol.com)

Recommended first album:

Either The Trinity Session or Whites Off Earth Now. (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

Love a lot of the albums, particularly The Trinity Session and The Caution Horses. So powerfully bluesy and such a great soulful voice from Margo Timmins. Their last two I don't play as often, but I recently discovered a copy of their unknown-to-me first album Whites Off Earth Now and I like it most of all. (mp@moonmac.com)

The Trinity Session is still my all-time favorite Junkies album as I love the simplicity of it. It's hard to believe they were released 10-12 years ago. (7/98, jeffw@smoe.org)

Maybe it comes from my late introduction to the band, but I have a fondness for the more elaborate sounding later albums, particularly Miles From Our Home and lay it down. Every album is good listening, though, and they each have at least several standout tracks. (7/00, neal)

The ideal place to begin when engaging in Cowboy Junkies purchase is Studio, a compilation of selected album cuts from all records up to Lay It Down. If your interest is sparked, then The Trinity Session would be the best second step as it is essential to understanding the group's sound. The third purchase should come in either the form of Black Eyed Man or Pale Sun, Crescent Moon. Either one will do, as they both display the band's move toward a rougher approach. Finally, immerse yourself in the bold beauty of Miles From Our Home, the band's most distinct album. (8/00, RedWoodenBeads@aol.com)

As for albums...I'd suggest Black Eyed Man, The Caution Horses, and for a good live compilation, 200 More Miles, which is a 2-CD set that I think goes for single-CD price, and has a pretty good selection on it. (sspan)

Recordings:


Whites Off Earth Now

Release info:

1986—Latent Recordings/BMG—2380-2-R

Availability:

Moderate distribution. Available from the Junkies web site.

Ecto priority:

Must have! (4/93,p00421@psilink.com)

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Produced by:

Recorded live on a digital two track in one day.

Comments:

Their first album, but only available as a re-release. The definitive track for this album is probably Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper", a song on a rainy night of a long drive, asking him not to pull you over. Very interesting musical imagery of the passing traffic and whatnot. I have grown to like this album even more than Trinity Session, but that may just be me ;-). (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

The large number of blues songs covered on this album give an interesting insight into where the Cowboy Junkies are coming from. I hadn't really thought of them as a blues band before hearing this, but that aspect of their sound becomes clearly evident on this album, which includes three songs by John Lee Hooker, two by Robert Johnson, and one each by Lightning Hopkins and Bukka White. There's only one original composition on the album, though the whole thing is easily unified by its sound. (7/00, neal)


The Trinity Session

Release info:

1988—BMG Music Canada—8568-2-R

Availability:

Widely available

Ecto priority:

Must have! (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Guest artists:

John Timmins—guitar, backup vocals
Jeff Bird—Fiddle, mandolin, harmonica
Kim Deschamps—pedal steel guitar, dobro, bottleneck slide guitar
Jaro Czerwinec—accordion
Steve Shearer—harmonica

Produced by:

Recorded live in one day at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Toronto, Canada.

Comments:

A little more mainstream than Whites Off Earth Now, I have listened to this album for more than 10 hours straight on more than one occasion. The style is very stripped down...vocals, one, sometimes two guitars, and minimal percussion. Just hearing "Sweet Jane" (the Lou Reed classic) is probably the easiest way to understand the album, although the best song is probably "Misguided Angel" (which was used as the background/theme of a Miami Vice! that was a surprise!) (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

The album that launched the Cowboy Junkies career with their amazing cover of The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane". An excellent introduction to the spare sounds of the early Junkies. Also contains covers of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Walking after Midnight," as well as originals that will prove to be highlights for the decade to come, specifically "Misguided Angel" and "Blue Moon Revisited (Song for Elvis)." (7/00, neal)

Signing to RCA in 1988, the band's second release, The Trinity Sessions was recorded at the abandoned Trinity Church for $250 with a single microphone. With melancholic tenderness, the Cowboy Junkies bring Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" into the despairing, dislocated '90s while a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" reveals wide-ranging influence. Michael Timmins' delicate guitar riffs, Margo's heavenly, soft vocals, Anton's bluesy, walking basslines and Peter's laid-back, simple drumming reveal a band of remarkable talent and originality. No doubt they were, to say the least, a far-fetch from the sexual obsession of Prince's '80s glam empire. Garnering ecstatic reviews and excellent sales, The Trinity Sessions was named album of the year by Rolling Stone. (8/00, RedWoodenBeads@aol.com)

It is very low key with very sparse arrangements. Not really anything uptempo. Very dark. Covers of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" (Hank Williams,) "Walkin' After Midnight" (Patsy Cline), and "Sweet Jane" (Lou Reed). An unbelievable debut. (ftedan@radiks.net)

This was my introduction to the band, back when the album first came into the radio station when I was in college. I listened to "Sweet Jane" and I was lost forever. (meth@smoe.org)


The Caution Horses

Release info:

1990—BMG Music Canada—2058-2-R

Availability:

Moderate

Ecto priority:

Good, but not in the same class as above. (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird—mandolin, harmonica, fiddle
Jaro Czerwinec—accordion
Kim Deschamps—pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar
David Houghton—percussion

Produced by:

Peter Moore, Michael Timmins

Comments:

Their 3rd album (released second). Definitely more mainstream. Carries a cover of Neil Young's "Powderfinger." (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

This album is worth owning just for "Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning," which is a brilliantly detailed painting of life after your lover has left—a mix of added freedoms and lost familiarities. Plus, there's a cover of Mary Margaret O'Hara's "You Will Be Loved Again", and I'll buy an album for a Mary Margaret O'Hara cover at the drop of a hat. This is the album where the Junkies start to flesh out their sound more, adding musical touches that will become more prevalent in their future albums. It's also dominated by original songs, with only a few covers. (7/00, neal)

Thanks to the success of their second record, Cowboy Junkies were able to work with a larger budget during their next recording sessions. The new album, The Caution Horses appeared in mid-1990. It continues with its predecessor's shadowy country darkness and a cover of Mary Margaret O'Hara's "You Will Be Loved Again" reveals excellent taste. Although it lacks Trinity's power and stunning quality, and perhaps even borders on excessive, its sales were excellent and secured the band's loyal following for years to come. (8/00, RedWoodenBeads@aol.com)

The Caution Horses contains more original work from Michael. I love "Cause Cheap Is How I Feel". Great slow cover of "Powderfinger" (Neil Young.) The sound is fuller...less sparse. (ftedan@radiks.net)


black eyed man

Release info:

1992—BMG Music Canada—07863-61049-2

Availability:

Widely available

Ecto priority:

Probably a little better than Caution Horses, but again, can't touch the 1st two albums. (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

Seems to me that you can't possibly go wrong buying an album with songs as strong as "A Horse in the Country," the John Prine duet on "If You Were The Woman and I Was The Man," and the haunting "Murder, Tonight, In The Trailer Park." This album seems to be an homage to Townes Van Zandt, as they cover two of his songs (and take their name from one??—"Cowboy Junkies Lament" [Editor's note: a reader points out that apparently Van Zandt wrote the song for them]), and an original entitled "Townes' Blues." (7/00, neal)

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

Definitely a more bluesy album. High recommendation. "If You Were the Woman and I Were the Man" probably is the best cut off the album. (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

This album's innovation and diversity corrects any of The Caution Horses' weaknesses. "This Street, That Man, This Life" and "Southern Rain" are marvelously akin to Hank Williams' story-telling imagery. The most diverse instances are "To Live is To Fly", the bursting folk-violin energy of which would never be repeated on anything Junkies, and the bass-thick "Murder, Tonight, in The Trailer Park", alluding to a move towards an edgier sound. (8/00, RedWoodenBeads@aol.com)

Black-eyed Man is one of my favorites. It shows Michael's growth as a songwriter and introduces Ken Myhr into the mix with sometimes startling results. "Southern Rain", "Murder Tonight In A Trailer Park", and "Townes' Blues" give him a chance to add much to the sound. They do two Townes Van Zandt covers, including "To Live Is To Fly". Great stuff. Very dark at times, but that's Cowboy Junkies. (ftedan@radiks.net)


Pale Sun, Crescent Moon

Release info:

1993—BMG—74321-16808-2

Availability:

Widely available

Ecto priority:

Moderate, though it's yet another solid Cowboy Junkies album. (Or highly recommended). (7/00, neal)

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird—harmonica, mandolin, 8 string bass, percussion
Ken Myhr—lead guitar
Richard Bell—piano, organ

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

This was one I didn't have before my binge purchase, and it's been a bit slower to grow on me. Still, it's a solid collection that I suspect will become a welcome friend after a few more spins. Two covers: "The Post" by J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr) and "Hard to Explain" by Ray Agee. (7/00, neal)

The more rocking direction continues on Pale Sun, Crescent Moon, one of the band's finest moments. While the whispering delicacy remains on tracks such as "First Recollection" and "Seven Years" they are now accompanied by bluesy guitar shards that add beautifully to the desolate, wandering feel. Even the quieter tracks, such as "Ring on the Sill" and "White Sail" are less spacious and slightly more upbeat than anything on The Trinity Session. Relayings of bewildered, struggling romance are no less astounding and vivid. The standout track is the nearly shimmering "Anniversary Song", which features bright guitars and an almost care-free lyrical feel. (8/00, RedWoodenBeads@aol.com)

Pale Sun Crescent Moon was my introduction to the magic of Michael, Margo and company. It is still my favorite. "Crescent Moon" is one of the most amazing songs I've ever heard. Absolutely striking in its imagery, sound...absolutely beautiful. "Ring On The Sill", "Anniversary Song" and "White Sail" are utterly gorgeous. "Seven Years" and "Hunted" are completely whacked and psycho. "First Recollection" has William Faulkner quotes. "White Sail" is full of mythological references...Tristan and Isolde. (ftedan@radiks.net)


Essential Junk

Release info:

1994—Canadian promotional disc

Availability:

Very rare

Ecto priority:

I guess you should buy Studio if you want a greatest hits disc. The track list is somewhat different. Both have excellent songs missing from the other. However, you can BUY Studio.

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Comments:

This compilation rekindled my passion for death country and obviated the need for me to acquire the rest of the Cowboy Junkies albums. (maeldun@i-2000.com)

[I wouldn't usually include a track list, but since you can't find the info anywhere else...]

1. Misguided Angel
2. Murder, Tonight in the Trailer Park
3. Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning
4. Anniversary Song
5. Shining Moon
6. Southern Rain
7. If You Were the Woman and I Was the Man
8. Sweet Jane
9. 'Cause Cheap Is What I Feel
10. Hard to Explain
11. Blue Moon Revisited (song for Elvis)
12. The Post

Live

Release info:

None available.

Availability:

Probably rare.

Ecto priority:

I'm guessing you may as well just buy the readily available 200 more miles, or the upcoming new live album.

Comments:

4 tracks, including "If You Were..." and "Sweet Jane." Puts the guitar back into "Sweet Jane"...I am still not sure how much I like this album. (4/93, p00421@psilink.com)

200 More Miles (Live performances 1985–1994)

(2 disc set)

Release info:

1995—BMG—74321-29643-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Probably more for fans.

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird—harmonica, fiddle, mandolin, electric mandolin, percussion
Jaco Czerwinec—accordion
David Houghton—percussion
Kim Deschamps—pedal steel, lap steel guitar
Ken Myhr—lead guitar
Spencer Evans—piano, organ, clarinet
John Prine—lead vocals

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

It's pretty good stuff, especially for Junkies fans. It's basically a best hits collection of live recordings in various venues and locales over the years. Everyone's Junkie fave raves are on it—"Sweet Jane," "Oregon Hill," "If you were the woman and I was the man," "Misguided Angel," "I'm so lonesome I could cry," "Sun comes up it's Tuesday morning," etc. (10/95, nkg@vcn.bc.ca)

200 More Miles is one of the best live sets I've heard. Great stuff from all incarnations of the band, from just the four of them, to the accordion, mandolin, pedal steel group; to the guitar-oriented stuff with Ken Myhr. (ftedan@radiks.net)


Studio: Selected Studio Recordings 1986—1995

Release info:

1996—BMG/RCA—B000002X1J

Availability:

This one is NOT available from the Junkies site, but is available through more commercial outlets.

Ecto priority:

High if you aren't going to buy any others, low if you are going to buy them all :)

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Guest artists:

Dave Allen—fiddle
Richard Bell—organ, piano
Jeff Bird—harmonica, mandolin, percussion
Jaro Czerwinec—accordion
Kim Deschamps—dobro, lap steel guitar, pedal steel guitar
Spencer Evans—organ, piano
Dave Houghton—percussion
Ken Myhr—guitar (electric)
John Timmins—vocals (background)

Produced by:

John Keane

Comments:

Note: Contains one unreleased track—"Lost My Driving Wheel".

The most recent Cowboy Junkies I have is Caution Horses and I don't have any of their stuff on CD. So this "Best of" collection was just what I needed. They seem to have selected my favorite tracks from the albums I have and the tracks that I wanted off what I didn't have. (dbucak@netaxs.com)

Studio is a greatest hits type thing—although the Cowboy Junkies are about as far from a hits band as you'll get. It's a good place to start, if you want a variety of their stuff. (ftedan@radiks.net)


lay it down

Release info:

1996—Geffen—GEFSD-24952

Availability:

Widely available

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended. (8/00, neal)

Group members:

Alan Anton—nass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Guest artists:

Andy Carlson—string arrangements, violin
Peter Schab—violin
Carl Schab—viola
Dave Henry—cello
Tim White—organ
Jeff Bird—organ (??? possibly a typo)
John Keane—pedal steel guitar, arpeggiated guitar

Produced by:

John Keane, Michael Timmins

Comments:

Having turned away from more recent releases' rockier feel, Lay it Down is a quieter record in the vein of The Trinity Session or The Caution Horses. (8/00, RedWoodenBeads@aol.com)

This doesn't seem to be one of the more popular Junkies' albums, but it's one of my favorites. Contains the not-to-be-missed "hit" "A common disaster", and the stunningly diverse twin takes on "come calling". Not only is the song sung from multiple perspectives, but it's recorded twice (his version and her version), with exactly the same lyrics, but totally different arrangement. His version has the more straight ahead pop/rock approach, while her version is excruciatingly slow and atmospheric (it takes a minute and a half longer). (8/00, neal)

Lay It Down returns to the sparser sound. A great album. (ftedan@radiks.net)

I love this album. It was the first Cowboy Junkies album I listened to over and over and over. (meth@smoe.org)


Miles From Our Home

Release info:

1998—Geffen—GEFD-25201

Availability:

Widely available

Ecto priority:

Very high. (7/00, neal)

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird—harmonica
David Houghton—percussion
Vince Jones—organ, piano, harmonium
Lewis Melville—pedal steel
Greg Clarke—ambient guitars
Craig Leon—string arrangements
Gavin Wright—orchestra leader

Produced by:

John Leckie

Comments:

They just keep getting better—Margo's voice is like smooth, somewhat smoky brandy, and Michael's writing and production really shine. "Darkling Days" is one of my favorite songs of the year. (Greg.Jumper@Eng.Sun.COM)

Boring lowest-common-denominator production. I swear, some of the songs remind me of Fleetwood Mac. (rkonrad@ibm.net)

Still one of my favorite bands, they've gotten right back on track with this one. (sspan)

The only album I bought this year that I immediately put on infinite repeat. I think I listened to it 5 times that one night. It's a bit more produced than I would ever have expected from the Junkies, but considering that the one treacly potential-top-40-sounding song has a repeated chorus of "that fucker up there", I know their hearts are still in the right place. :) (meth@smoe.org)

a first full-fledged multitrack studio recording that had me worried at first, but I love the results. Margo's vocals have never sounded better & the ensemble playing has gotten much better, in my opinion, especially Pete's drumming. Not quite as laid-back as previous albums. Michael's lead guitar playing is really amazing on this. Even better live augmented with Over The Rhine personnel. (ABershaw@aol.com)

With a bold, guitar-heavy drive, this album flaunts a thundering rock approach that somehow keeps a clear country edge. Opening track "New Dawn Coming" is twisted, surreal, collapsing effortlessly into the drifting ballad "Blue Guitar". "Miles from Our Home" and "Those Final Feet" are audacious, driving toward the light in a manner completely unheard of from the Cowboy Junkies. Perhaps the standout track is the gleaming "Darkling Days", a warm reflection carried by graceful, ringing guitars. This is no doubt the Cowboy Junkies' brightest record to date, and also one of their best selling. (8/00, RedWoodenBeads@aol.com)

Miles From Our Home is one that took a while for me to get into. The title track is the most poppy thing they've done. But after really hearing "Good Friday", I was amazed. Incredible song. Great album. (ftedan@radiks.net)


B-Sides, Rarities and Slow Sad Waltzes

Release info:

1999—Latent Recordings—VE 15047

Availability:

Available on the web site and at scattered stores.

Ecto priority:

Moderate, good for fans though. (7/00, neal)

Group members:

Alan Anton—bass
Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird—harmonica, mandolin
Jaro Czerwinec—accordion
Kim Deschamps—dobro, pedal steel
Spencer Evans—piano
David Houghton—percussion
Ken Myhr—lead guitar
Richard Bell—piano

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

Their new B-side collection on their own label after being dumped in the Geffen/Polygram merger. A lot of these songs are album worthy and some good covers: "Water is Wide" and a Dylan song. (NNadelS@hotmail.com)

Sad Slow Waltzes is really good. Some of it I love ("Few Simple Words", "I Saw Your Shoes", "Leaving Normal") and some of it doesn't do much for me, but it is all B-sides and rarities 'n stuff. (ftedan@radiks.net)


Waltz Across America

Release info:

2000—Latent Records?—Latex CD 13

Availability:

Available from the junkies web site.

Ecto priority:

Moderate

Group members:

Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—electric guitar
Peter Timmins—drums
Alan Anton—bass

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird—mandolin, electric mandolin, harmonica, 8 string bass, melodica, percussion
Linford Detweiler (Over The Rhine)—piano, Hammond B3 organ
Karin Bergquist (Over The Rhine)—back up vocals, acoustic guitar

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

Hey, it's another live Cowboy Junkies disc. How can you complain? Plus, you get a nice document of what they sounded like with Karin and Linford of Over The Rhine. (neal)

I saw this tour live, and I was rather looking forward to this live album. It's only had one listen through so far, but unfortunately that listen was more than a little disappointing. The songs that I remembered as subtly restrained just sounded tired. The beautifully aggressive guitar work had just turned into guitar solos that, while technically impressive, went on and on and on... As an interesting side mention, for some reason, "Waltz" also made me think instantly of Natalie Merchant—something that the Junkies have never made me do before. Something about Margo's voice. But that's neither really here nor there.
     So, for me, this was an example of how even *recordings* of a good show can lose the intensity and immediacy that the show had, in the lack of the accompanying vibe. I suspect that I'll come to enjoy Waltz—a couple tracks stood out even on my first listen—but it's it's definitely not the live show that I saw that blew me away. (iclysdal@redmaple.yi.org)

I've caught them several times on each tour and this album really captures the dynamics of this band live. From very quiet and introspective to pulverizing. There's some truly inspired guitar playing from Michael and the whole band has never sounded better. Those who think of this band as soft and mellow, give "I Saw Your Shoes" a chance! You'll be surprised. Not to mention phenomenal live jammed-out versions of "Hunted" & "Blue Guitar". All existing fans should love this and those who found them too quiet in the past will be pleasantly surprised.
     Finally, a Cowboy Junkies album that truly captures the live dynamics of this band. Margot's voice continues to improve with age and excellent choices of material. Favorites performed better than the studio versions and truly pummeling versions of "I Saw Your Shoes", "Hunted" and "Blue Guitar". They're not known for blasting power but listen to this and you'll think again. Great live recording! (ABershaw@aol.com)


open

Release info:

2001—Universal Music/Latent Recordings)—4400140552

Availability:

Widely available

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums
Alan Anton—bass

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird—mandolin, electric mandolin, harmonica, 8 string bass, percussion
Karin Bergquist (Over The Rhine)—back up vocals
Linford Detweiler (Over The Rhine)—organ, piano, wurlitzer

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

When Miles From Home came out, everyone kept saying what a radical departure it was for the Junkies. But it seemed to me that was just a somewhat more polished, band-oriented studio album, and a pretty obvious progression from Lay It Down. Open, on the other hand, is that departure. With the exception of the beautiful "small swift birds", very little of this album sounds like the Cowboy Junkies to me. It's got noisier guitars and a much denser sound. I've only listened to it once or twice, and it will take me a number of other listens before I start to absorb it and have something more intelligible to say about it. (10/01, neal)

Louder and more edgy than their usual fare. I'm not sure if I'd want them to continue in this direction, but they deserve a prize for not standing still... (afries@zip.com.au)

Michael lets loose in the studio—until this album you had to see them live to catch him playing like this. Meant to be played with the volume up and no other way... (dlw@sympatico.ca)

After their last studio album (Miles From Our Home), they said that it had a very different sound for them. I had to disagree—while there was a richer instrumentation, songs like "Blue Guitar" were the very embodiment of their first gems, such as their interpretations of "State Trooper," "Sweet Jane" (the Studio version), "Misguided Angel," etc.
     Open, however, really does have an entirely new sound for them. The first track ("i did it all for you"), for example, is haunting in a much more literal sense than their previous work. (dgp@TheWorld.com)

One of my top 10 of 2001. (mcurry@io.com)

I think the new Cowboy Junkies album Open is the best work they've ever done. I've listened to it a few dozen times now so it's no rash decision. I'm very familiar with all their albums and this is the only one where I'm still getting more blown away with every listen. They finally capture the live dynamics they've tended to lack on many studio recordings. This is definitely not a quiet mellow album. Michael Timmins writing has never been consistently stronger and his guitar playing is out of this world on many tracks. There's an ominous quality to most of this material and some of it is very loud and dense with Margo's vocals blending into the arrangements and then surfacing to dramatic effect. The entire band has never sounded so inspired on a studio recording. And I must add it's technically an astounding recording. Sit back, close your eyes (unless you're reading the lyric book, which you'll eventually be compelled to do) and play it LOUD. You'll be transported. ;-)
     I'm way into too many tracks to mention or I'll be here all night typing with my one finger...but I will single out "Thousand Year Prayer," which is a Millennium-inspired song, and unlike anything else on the album. It has got to be the most beautiful song this band has ever recorded. Texturally delicious!
     Very honorable mention goes to Karen Bergquist's harmony vocals and Linford Detweiler's sensitive piano. These two Over The Rhine members add a lot to this album, but are especially great on this tune. Ditto to Jeff Bird, whose electric mandolin and various instrumental seasoning is all over these songs. (ABershaw@aol.com)

Harder and more angry-sounding in my opinion than earlier stuff. (cdavis@tir.com)


Open Road

Release info:

Released in 2002 as DVD with bonus CD; re-released in 2005 as CD with bonus DVD (Latent Recordings 01143-1030-2)

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

Open Road has a similar sound to the album Open—powerful, dark, and even more intense. This is most obvious on the opening tracks "Murder, Tonight, in the Trailer Park" and "Lay It Down" and later on "Dragging Hooks" which all feature extended band jams and guitar solos. About half the album is made up of moody, atmospheric songs, really showcasing the band. Elsewhere there's a languorous beauty such as on "Thousand Year Prayer," "Witches," and "Something More Besides You."
     The DVD allows you to hear other songs and also to hear different performances of the songs on the CD. The "Margo and Michael Timmons Live from the Temple" segment, an intimate duo performance, is my favorite of the bonus material. But all the concert footage is good, and "A Documentary in Music, Ones, and Zeroes" is a well-done mix of music, video, and photos from the tour. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One Soul Now

Release info:

2004—Zoë Records—01143 1036-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums
Alan Anton—bass

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird—percussion, melodica on "Simon Keeper," electric mandolin on "The Stars of Our Stars"
Richard Bell—organ and piano
Linford Detweiler (Over the Rhine)—organ on "Simon Keeper"
Jaro Czerwinec—accordion on "Simon Keeper"

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

This is a spacious album, dark in mood, and languorous in feel. A continuation of the sound of Open, though some of the brighter songs are more like those on Miles From Our Home. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Early 21st Century Blues

Release info:

2005—Latent Recordings—01143-1078-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums, percussion
Alan Anton—bass

Guest artists:

John Timmins—guitar, banjo
Jeff Bird—electric mandolin
Jaro Czerwinec—accordion
Rebel—vocal on "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier"
Bob Egan—pedal steel
Anne Bourne—cello

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

There are eleven tracks, and only two of them are new compositions.
     I've listened to it a few times, and found it to be pretty standard Cowboy Junkies fare. This isn't necessarily a complaint: Margo's voice is just as gorgeous as ever, the band is just as tight as ever. They're not breaking any new ground here, but I'm not sure if I mind.
     The standout tracks are their covers of Springsteen's "You're Missing" and U2's "One". The Cowboy Junkies do melancholy better than anyone out there, and these two covers exemplify that. The former is somehow more heart-breaking than Bruce's original (although his live versions from his 2005 acoustic tour are fantastic). The latter is sad and strong.
     The worst track on the album is their cover of Lennon's "I Don't Want to Be a Soldier". This perplexing track includes a rapper (a guy named Rebel, in case you've heard of him; I haven't). Margo mostly only sings "I don't wanna die", leaving the rest of the track to the rapper and to long bridges between verses. It clocks in at a mind-numbing 7m30s, and it's painfully repetitive. I suppose that you could argue that this track is breaking new ground, but I have to strongly disagree. Rock band plus rapper has been done a hundred times by other artists, and in my opinion the only time that it's been successful was "Walk This Way". R.E.M. couldn't pull it off, and neither can Cowboy Junkies. It's especially jarring that the next track on the disc is "One".
     For someone new to the Junkies, I wouldn't start here. But then, I would never suggest that someone start with an album of covers. It's a great introduction to their sound, but not to what they do with their own lyrics and music. For an established fan, it's a great addition to your CD racks, although I don't know that I would call it essential. (nadyne@little-blue-world.org)

Long Journey Home

Release info:

2006—Zoë Records/Latent Recordings—01143-1067-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums
Alan Anton—bass
Jeff Bird—mandolin, electric mandolin, harmonica, percussion
Jaro Czerwinec—accordion

Produced by:

Paul M. Green

Comments:

The Junkies always make great live albums, and this one is no exception. (JoAnn Whetsell)

At the End of Paths Taken

Release info:

2007—Zoë Records/Latent Recordings—01143-1097-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar, background vocals
Peter Timmins—drums, congas and percussion
Alan Anton—bass, percussion, keyboards

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird—electric mandolin, percussion
Joby Baker—piano, keyboards, bass
Henry Kucharzyk—digital kalimba, string arrangements
The Sarah J. Ratzlaff/Madeleine Wieler Youth Choir
Benjamin Bowman—violin
Sandra Baron—violin
Rebecca Vanderpost—violin
Sarah Fraser-Raff—violin
Amy Laing—cello
Richard Armin—cello
John A. Timmins—narration (10)

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

Much better than their last album, One Soul Now. Darker and more inventive. At the End of Paths Taken has identity and personality. It sounds like the Junkies while not sounding like any particular album they've released before. It's dark, but not in the way that open was. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Trinity Revisited

Release info:

2007—Zoë Records/Latent Recordings—01143-1121-2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Margo Timmins—lead vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar
Peter Timmins—drums
Alan Anton—bass

Guest artists:

Jeff Bird
Ryan Adams
Natalie Merchant
Vic Chesnutt

Produced by:

Peter Moore

Comments:

Last year threw me for a loop, and I'm still catching up on the music that I missed out on. One of the albums that I missed was the Cowboy Junkies doing another take of their seminal album The Trinity Session.
     Everyone has a copy of Trinity, as well they should. When I saw that the Junkies were going to re-record it, I was more than a bit apprehensive. My most recent experiences with an artist revisiting their old work, such as Tori's re-working of several songs for her retrospective Tales of a Librarian, left me cold. So this has been sitting on my shelf for a few months now, waiting for me to listen.
     I'm now kicking myself for waiting so long. They didn't just re-record the old tracks, they took a fresh look at them. This fresh look is helped along by bringing in a surprising slate of guest artists: Natalie Merchant, Ryan Adams, and Vic Chesnutt. It works, it works really really well. I am in awe.
     The album starts out with Margo doing "Mining for Gold". Even though it's a capella, and even though I don't think she's changed the phrasing, she made it sound more plaintive this time around. It's a great introduction to the album.
     Next up is "Misguided Angel". I've listened to this song hundreds of times, and I've heard it live a couple of dozen times. Maybe it's my long association with this song, but it's also the song that I think is least well-served by the introduction of an additional voice. Natalie Merchant sings with Margo on this one. Natalie Merchant has a distinctive voice that I generally like, but which I don't think is a general-purpose voice. Margo could sing the phone book and I'd love it, but not Natalie. And here, Natalie's voice makes it feel like she's intruding on the song. This gave me pause for the rest of the album.
     Vic Chesnutt comes in on "Blue Moon Revisited", which is the first song that made me remember exactly why I like him so much. Vic is an acquired taste, to be sure, but this is probably one way to make him more accessible. His voice on this track, and even more so on "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Dreaming My Dreams with You" is haunting.
     Ryan Adams can be heard on most of the album, with his singing coming to the fore on "I Don't Get It". The song, while still sedate, becomes a bit more boisterous and fun. He's a great foil to Margo's singing here. Later on, his take on the slightly melancholy "200 More Miles" is inspired.
     Natalie Merchant returns to take on "To Love Is to Bury". This is a Junkies-free tune: she plays piano, and the unofficial (although I don't understand why he's unofficial) fifth Junkie Jeff Bird plays fiddle. The rest of the band is nowhere to be seen. This song shines, which serves to make the earlier "Misguided Angel" all that more disappointing. She's really well-suited to this song, and I think that she does a better version of it than the couple of live versions that I've heard from the Junkies themselves in the past few years. I feel a bit guilty for saying that, but there you have it.
     "Working on a Building", "Sweet Jane", "Postcard Blues", and "Walking After Midnight" feature all of the musicians. "Working on a Building" and "Walking After Midnight" especially feel like the listener is getting a special look at a group of people who are just playing together for the fun of it, and in the course of having fun, they're creating some exquisite music. Sometimes a band jams together and magic happens; four separate incidents of that occur on this album.
     I can't recommend this album highly enough. I hesitate to throw around the term "instant classic", but I'm not sure if any other descriptor could possibly do it justice. (nadyne@little-blue-world.org)

Renmin Park: The Nomad Series Volume 1

Release info:

2010—Latent Recordings/Razor & Tie—7 93018 31042 0

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

A really interesting and unusual album. Some of the songs (like "Stranger Here" sound like just straight up Cowboy Junkies songs, and really good ones. Then there are recordings made in China that serve as interludes and are incorporated into the songs to different degrees (most prominently on "Sir Francis Bacon at the Net" and "A Walk in the Park"). The album can be enjoyed just as music, but it has a fascinating back story (which can be read on the Junkies website, along with notes on each song). Basically, Michael Timmins spent 3 months in Jingjiang, China, taking his adopted daughters on a homeland visit. His family spent a lot of time in the town's Renmin Park and he recorded a lot of sounds there, which became the basis for original songs. He was also introduced to some Chinese rock artists, and two songs ("I Cannot Sit Sadly By Your Side" and "My Fall") are covers. (JoAnn Whetsell)

One of the best albums of the year. (onyx@vianet.ca)


Demons: The Nomad Series Volume 2

Release info:

2011—Latent Recordings/Razor & Tie—7 93018 31242 4

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Margo Timmins—vocals
Michael Timmins—guitar and vocals
Peter Timmins—drums and percussion
Alan Anton—bass

Guest artists:

Joby Baker—piano, organ, Wurlitzer and horn arrangement on "Strange Language" and "When the Bottom Fell Out"
Jeff Bird—mandolin
Dave Henry—cello
Tania Elizabeth—fiddle
Aaron Goldstein—lead guitar on "Flirted With You All My Life"
Henry Kucharzyk—woodwind arrangement on "We Hovered With Short Wings"
Alfons Fear, Nick La Riviere, Roy Styffe—horns on "Strange Language" and "When the Bottom Fell Out"
Bob Stevenson—clarinets on "We Hovered With Short Wings"
Andy Maize—vocals on "Strange Language" and "When the Bottom Fell Out"

Produced by:

Michael Timmins

Comments:

Vic Chesnutt died before he and the Junkies got to collaborate on an album together. That's part of the reason the band decided to make an album of his songs. It's an excellent album and a wonderful tribute, at times rocking, at other times haunting. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Sing in My Meadow: The Nomad Series Volume 3

Release info:

2011

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans

Comments:

More experimental, more hard rock, and more noise than anything they've done before (the band uses the terms "acid blues," "irritating psychedelic interplay," and "sonic-dilly-dallying" in its description). I probably wouldn't listen to this if it were any other band, but there's something intriguing about the various influences (including previous Junkies albums) that I can hear but can't quite name, and something fundamentally Cowboy Junkies underlying it all that makes it compelling. (JoAnn Whetsell)

The Wilderness: The Nomad Series Volume 4

Release info:

2012—Latent

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Comments:

This album has a rock sound, but is very exploratory and reminds me of open, with some of the psychedelica of Sing In My Meadow: The Nomad Series Volume 3. I can't say I like it as much as those albums though. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Further info:

Cowboy Junkies have a lot of unreleased and live tracks for download on its official site. Anatomy of an Album CD-ROM (2004) is available as a digital download there. The book XX celebrates the band's 20th anniversary.

DVDs include:

  • Long Journey Home—Live in Liverpool double DVD
  • Trinity Revisited limited edition DVD/CD (2007)
The band has contributed songs to many compilations. Tracks that only appear on compilations include:

  • "Moonlight Mile" on Paint It Black: An Alt Country Tribute to the Rolling Stones (2011)
  • "Once I Was" on The Village: A Celebration of the Music of Greenwich Village (2009)
  • "Run For Your Life" on This Bird Has Flown: A 40th Anniversary Tribute to The Beatles' Rubber Soul (2005)
  • "The Way I Feel" on Beautiful: A Tribute to Gordon Lightfoot (2003)
  • "Highway Kind" on Poet (A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt) (2001)
  • "Ooh Las Vegas" on Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons (1999)
Live tracks that only appear on compilations include:

  • "Murder Tonight in the Trailer Park" and "Sun Comes Up It's Tuesday Morning" on The Bridge School Collection, Volume 1 (2006)
  • "Miles From Our Home" on Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music, Volume 2 (1999)
  • "Pale Sun" on Vol. 7—Best of Mountain Stage (1994)
  • "If You Were The Woman and I Was the Man" (with John Prine) on John Prine Christmas (1993)
  • "Misguided Angel" on The Best Of Mountain Stage Live, Vol. 3 (1991)


Thanks to Neal Copperman and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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