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Cowboy Junkies

Cowboy Junkies

Country/blues group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

The Cowboy Junkies were described as country music subversives in People after their album The Trinity Session began to attract widespread attention. The Canada-based band is composed of Michael, Peter, and Margo Timmins (who are siblings), and Alan Anton. Their stark, slow, haunting brand of country and blues has proved popular with fans and mystified critics. After asserting that mystery had long been missing from country music, Time reviewer Jay Cocks proclaimed that that is precisely what the Cowboy Junkies offer. The Trinity Session spawned the hit Misguided Angel, and also contained re-workings of country classics such as Im So Lonesome I Could Cry and Walking After Midnight. The albums Lay it Down, Miles from Home, and Open remained true to the groups heartfelt lyricals and slower tempos.

The roots of the Cowboy Junkies as a band lie in the experiences of Michael Timmins, the eldest of the siblings, and Alan Anton. Friends since their early childhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the two formed their first band in high school. When they became adults, they moved with a band called The Hunger Project to New York City to try their musical skills. At this time, Timmins and Anton were primarily interested in performing punk; as Cocks reported, they tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to make a living playing adaptations of the kind of fierce rock that was then coming out of England. Undaunted, the duo decided to offer their wares in England itself, forming with others a band called Germinal in which all the members played whatever they wished on their instruments at the same time. As the pair told Cocks: It was the ultimate release for us. But for the audience, it was quite a chore. Eventually, however, Timmins and Anton came to feel that the English were not receptive to their work, and returned to Toronto.

There, Michael Timmins began working on new music with his brother Peter. Anton joined them, and Margo Timminswho had worked previously as a social workerwas invited to provide vocals. Around the same time, the newly formed group toured the southern United States, and were inspired by the country music they heard there. In 1986 they independently recorded an album entitled Whites Off Earth Now! Despite having to distribute it themselves, the Cowboy Junkies sold four thousand copies of the disc, and began to establish something of a cult following in Toronto. But, of course, the bands big break came when they signed with RCA Records and released The Trinity Session in 1988.

That album takes its name from the fact that it was recorded in Torontos Church of the Holy Trinity for a very low cost using only one microphone. This spare recording style plays a large part in the acclaimed starkness of The Trinity Session, but so do Margo Timminss soft, haunting vocals, which People claimed lend a distinctive dash of angst to the Junkies

For the Record

Members include Alan Anton (born on June 22, 1959; married), bass; and siblings Margo Timmins (born on January 27, 1961; married), vocals; Michael Timmins (born on April 21, 1959), guitar; Peter Timmins (born c 1966), drums.

Group formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1985; played in several unsuccessful bands in England and released the independent Whites Off Earth Now! before signing with RCA Records; released The Trinity Session, 1988; released several albums during the 1990s, including The Caution Horses, 1990, Black-Eyed Man, 1992, Pale Sun, Crescent Moon, 1993, Lay It Down, 1996, and Miles from Our Home, 1998; released Open, 2001.

Addresses: Website Cowboy Junkies Official Website: http://www.cowboyjunkies.com.

country sound. Some critics, however, were uncomfortable with the bands low-key approach to the material on Trinity Session, and even found it dull; Alanna Nash of Stereo Review lamented that when I listened attentively, the hour seemed to stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. But Anthony DeCurtis in Rolling Stone declared that The Trinity Session is in the great tradition of albums that establish a mood and sustain it so consistently that the entire record seems like one continuously unfolding song. One of the cuts from Trinity Session, Misguided Angel, received a great deal of airplay on the music video channels, and helped boost sales, but critics tended to single out other songs for praise, such as the remake of Lou Reeds Sweet Jane. Cocks revealed that Im So Lonesome I Could Cry hasnt sounded so desolate since [country pioneer] Hank Williams recorded it. And, after first citing the soulfulness of the late Patsy Clines rendition of Walking After Midnight, Cocks conjectured that in the false lull of Margo Timmins lovely voice and measured phrasing there is the suggestion that whoevers up after midnight may be not only walking, but stalking. But on the subject of the dark tone of their musical interpretation, Michael Timmins reassured People: No, we are not depressed, or melancholy or any of those things. We dont consider the music sad, just heartfelt. To us, its very strange when people come up to us and say, You must be so depressed.

In 1990 the Cowboy Junkies released the follow-up to The Trinity Session entitled The Caution Horses. The latter album was originally to be called Sharon, but according to Rolling Stone, the band became bored with some of the songs, decided to abandon them for other cuts, and rerecord the disc under a new name. The first single from The Caution Horses was Sun Comes Up, Its Tuesday Morning. The Caution Horses did not receive as much publicity as the bands previous album, but the Cowboy Junkies still retained a sizable following. The loyalty of their fans helped launch the 1992 record Black-Eyed Man, featuring A Horse in the Country, Southern Rain, If You Were the Woman and I Was the Man, and the 1993 album, Pale Sun, Crescent Moon.

According to Billboard, the Cowboy Junkies 1996 release, Lay it Down remains true to the bands minimalist country/blues approach, the releases most noticeable aspects are its starkness and tight interplay between vocalist Margo Timmins, guitarist Michael Timmins, drummer Peter Timmins and bassist Alan Anton. Miles from Our Home, the Cowboy Junkies 1998 record, is simply a solid album from a reliable band, says All Music Guide writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine.

In 2000, after leaving Geffen Records, the Cowboy Junkies released Waltz Across America. This live recording sold exclusively on the Internet under the bands independent label, Latent Recordings. Rarities, B-Sides and Slow, Sad Waltzes, released in 1999, began as an Internet venture as well, until Torontos True North Records placed the album on Canadian record store shelves. Open, the Cowboy Junkies 2001 release, according to Kelly McCartney of All Music Guide, is full of wonder and romance, fear and passion, offering tracks like Thousand Year Prayer and Im So Open. Guitar Player suggests Open is like an Orson Wells movie set to music. The band released Open Road, a three-hour DVD documenting the bands Open tour and a bonus CD containing live material, in 2002.

Selected discography

Whites Off Earth Now!, independent release, 1986.

The Trinity Session, RCA, 1988.

The Caution Horses, RCA, 1990.

Black-Eyed Man, RCA, 1992.

Pale Sun, Crescent Moon, RCA, 1993.

Lay It Down, Geffen, 1996.

Miles from Our Home, Geffen, 1998.

Rarities, B-Sides and Slow, Sad Waltzes, Valley, 1999.

Waltz Across America (live), Latent, 2000.

Open, Zoe, 2001.

Sources

Periodicals

Audio, May 1989.

Billboard, January 20, 1996.

Guitar Player, August 2001.

Macleans, April 17, 1989.

People, December 19, 1988; May 8, 1989.

Rolling Stone, February 9, 1989; December 14, 1989; February 22, 1990.

Stereo Review, April 1989.

Time, December 5, 1988.

Online

The Cowboy Junkies, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (August 2, 2002).

Elizabeth Thomas

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Cowboy Junkies

Cowboy Junkies

Country/blues group

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

The Cowboy Junkies were described as country music subversives in People after their album The Trinity Session began to attract widespread attention. The Canada-based band is composed of Michael, Peter, and Margo Timmins (who are siblings), and Alan Anton. Their stark, slow, haunting brand of country and blues has proved popular with fans and mystified critics. After asserting that mystery had long been missing from country music, Time reviewer Jay Cocks proclaimed that that is precisely what the Cowboy Junkies offer. The Trinity Session spawned the hit Misguided Angel, and also contained re-workings of country classics such as Im So Lonesome I Could Cry and Walking After Midnight.

The roots of the Cowboy Junkies as a band lie in the experiences of Michael Timmins, the eldest of the siblings, and Alan Anton. Friends since their early childhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the two formed their first band in high school. When they became adults, they moved with a band called The Hunger Project to New York City to try their musical skills. At this

For the Record

Members include siblings Michael, Margo, and Peter Timmins (spelled Timmons in some sources), and Alan Anton; Michael (guitarist), born c. 1960; Margo (vocalist), born c. 1961, married; Peter (drummer), born c. 1966; Alan (bass player), born c. 1960, married.

Recording artists and concert performers, c. 1985.

The Trinity Session voted top recording of 1988 by the Los Angeles Times critics poll.

Addresses: Home Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Record company RCA Records, 1133 Ave. of the Americas, New York, NY 10036.

time, Timmins and Anton were primarily interested in performing punk; as Cocks reported, they tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to make a living playing adaptations of the kind of fierce rock that was then coming out of England. Undaunted, the duo decided to offer their wares in England itself, forming with others in a band called Germinal in which all the members played whatever they wished on their instruments at the same time. As the pair told Cocks: It was the ultimate release for us. Butforthe audience, it was quite a chore. Eventually, however, Timmins and Anton came to feel that the English were not receptive to their work, and returned to Toronto.

There, Michael Timmins began working on new music with his brother Peter. Anton joined them, and Margo Timminswho had worked previously as a social workerwas invited to provide vocals. Around the same time, the newly formed group toured the southern United States, and were inspired by the country music they heard there. In 1986 they independently recorded an album entitled Whites Off Earth Now! Despite having to distribute it themselves, the Cowboy Junkies sold four thousand copies of the disc, and began to establish something of a cult following in Toronto. But, of course, the bands big break came when they signed with RCA Records and released The Trinity Session in 1988.

That album takes its name from the fact that it was recorded in Torontos Church of the Holy Trinity for a very low cost using only one microphone. This spare recording style plays a large part in the acclaimed starkness of The Trinity Session, but so do Margo Timminss soft, haunting vocals, which People claimed lend a distinctive dash of angst to the Junkies country sound. Some critics, however, were uncomfortable with the bands low-key approach to the material on Trinity Session, and even found it dull; Alanna Nash of Stereo Review lamented that when I listened attentively, the hour seemed to stretch into weeks, the weeks into months. But Anthony DeCurtis in Rolling Stone declared that The Trinity Session is in the great tradition of albums that establish a mood and sustain it so consistently that the entire record seems like one continuously unfolding song. One of the cuts from Trinity Session, Misguided Angel, received a great deal of airplay on the music video channels, and helped boost sales, but critics tended to single out other songs for praise, such as the remake of Lou Reeds Sweet Jane. Cocks revealed that Im So Lonesome I Could Cry hasnt sounded so desolate since [country pioneer] Hank Williams recorded it. And, after first citing the soulfulness of the late Patsy Clines rendition of Walking After Midnight, Cocks conjectured that in the false lull of Margo Timmins lovely voice and measured phrasing there is the suggestion that whoevers up after midnight may be not only walking, but stalking. But on the subject of the dark tone of their musical interpretation, Michael Timmins reassured People: No, we are not depressed, or melancholy or any of those things. We dont consider the music sad, just heartfelt. To us, its very strange when people come up to us and say, You must be so depressed.

In 1990 the Cowboy Junkies released the follow-up to The Trinity Session entitled The Caution Horses. The latter album was originally to be called Sharon, but according to Rolling Stone the band became bored with some of the songs, decided to abandon them for other cuts, and re-recorded the disc under a new name. The first single from The Caution Horses is Sun Comes Up, Its Tuesday Morning.

Selected discography

Albums

The Trinity Session (includes Misguided Angel, Im So Lonesome I Could Cry, Sweet Jane, Walking After Midnight, Mining for Gold, and Blue Moon Revisited), RCA, 1988.

The Caution Horses (includes Sun Comes Up, Its Tuesday Morning), RCA, 1990.

Also released the album Whites Off Earth Now! on an independent label in 1986.

Sources

Periodicals

Audio, May 1989.

Macleans, April 17, 1989.

People, December 19, 1988; May 8, 1989.

Rolling Stone, February 9, 1989; December 14, 1989; February 22, 1990.

Stereo Review, April 1989.

Time, December 5, 1988.

Elizabeth Thomas

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"Cowboy Junkies." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Cowboy Junkies." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/cowboy-junkies

Cowboy Junkies

COWBOY JUNKIES

Formed: 1985, Toronto, Ontario

Members: Alan Anton, bass (born Montreal, Quebec, 22 June 1959); Margo Timmins, vocals (born Montreal, Quebec, 27 June 1961); Michael Timmins, guitar (born Montreal, Quebec, 21 April 1959); Peter Timmins, drums (born Montreal, Quebec, 29 October 1965)

Genre: Rock

Best-selling album since 1990: Lay It Down (1996)

Hit songs since 1990: "A Common Disaster," "Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning"


With a sparse, haunting sound rooted in country, folk, and gospel traditions, the Cowboy Junkies enjoyed a devoted cult following throughout the 1990s, particularly on college campuses.

Michael Timmins and Alan Anton first collaborated musically in a band called Hunger Project, formed in Toronto in the late 1970s; the pair later moved to the United Kingdom to form an experimental instrumental group. Returning to Toronto in 1985, Timmins and Anton recruited Timmins's brother Peter and his sister Margo for a new band called the Cowboy Junkies. In 1986 the Junkies released their debut album Whites Off Earth Now!! on their own Latent Records label. Two years later the band released The Trinity Sessions. Recorded in an abandoned church on a single microphone and a $250 budget, The Trinity Sessions featured a whispery cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane." College radio stations seized on the track, and a promotional video landed the band in rotation on MTV. RCA signed the Cowboy Junkies to a recording contract, reissuing The Trinity Sessions on the RCA label.

The Cowboy Junkies' subsequent major-label recordings did not stray far from the band's core sound: understated twangy guitars coupled with Margo Timmins's detached, ghostly vocals. The band enjoyed another minor radio hit with "Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning" from The Caution Horses (1990). A mournful harmonica and accordion provide the soundtrack for Michael Timmins's postbreakup narrative, moodily articulated by his sister Margo: "I sure do miss the smell of black coffee in the morning / The sound of water splashing all over the bathroom / The kiss that you would give me even though I was sleeping / But I kind of like the feel of this extra few feet in my bed."

Critics showered praise on albums such as Pale Sun, Crescent Moon, but positive reviews failed to cement a place for the band outside college radio. The Cowboy Junkies did achieve brief mainstream success with "A Common Disaster" from the album Lay It Down (1996). Adult album alternative radio picked up the track, which rocked harder than previous releases by the Junkies. In the chorus of "A Common Disaster," Michael Timmins answers Margo Timmins's plaintive vocal ("Won't you share with me a common disaster?") with a catchy, up-tempo guitar riff not previously heard on Cowboy Junkies releases.

The Cowboy Junkies lost their recording contract in the wake of a record label merger.

The band resurrected its Latent Records label for its next release, the live Waltz Across America (2000), which surveyed the group's entire career and captured its intimate performing style. In 2001 the Cowboy Junkies collaborated with the independent label Rounder Records and released Open.

Exhibiting their own style of traditional American music, the Cowboy Junkies carved a niche on alternative radio stations in the 1990s and in the process endeared themselves to fans and critics alike.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

The Trinity Sessions (RCA, 1988); The Caution Horses (RCA, 1990); Black-Eyed Man (RCA, 1992); Pale Sun, Crescent Moon (RCA, 1993); Lay It Down (Geffen, 1996); Miles from Our Home (Geffen, 1998); Waltz Across America [live] (Latent, 2000); Open (Zoe, 2001).

scott tribble

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"Cowboy Junkies." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cowboy-junkies