Cowboy Junkies

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Cowboy Junkies
Cowboy Junkies guitarist and songwriter Michael Timmins, mandolin-player Jeff Bird, and singer, Margo Timmins.jpg
Cowboy Junkies performing in Elgin, Illinois
Background information
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Americana, alt-country,
country rock, folk rock,
blues rock, psychedelic rock,
indie rock
Years active 1986–present
Labels RCA, Geffen, Latent, Zoë
Associated acts Jeff Bird
Members Alan Anton
Margo Timmins
Michael Timmins
Peter Timmins

Cowboy Junkies are a Canadian alternative country/blues/folk rock band. The group was formed in Toronto in 1985 by Margo Timmins (vocalist), Michael Timmins (songwriter, guitarist), Peter Timmins (drummer) and Alan Anton (bassist).[1]

The Junkies first performed publicly at the Beverley Tavern and other clubs in Toronto's Queen Street West, including The Rivoli. Their 1986 debut album, produced by Canadian producer Peter Moore, was the blues-inspired Whites Off Earth Now!!, recorded using an ambisonic microphone in the family garage.[1]

The group's fame spread with their second album, The Trinity Session, recorded in 1987 at Toronto's Church of the Holy Trinity. Their sound, again using the ambisonic microphone, and their mix of blues, country, folk, rock and jazz earned them both critical attention and a cult following. The Los Angeles Times named the recording as one of the ten best albums of 1988.[1]

The band was nominated for Group of the Year at the Juno Awards in 1990 and 1991. In the early 1990s Margo Timmins was named "one of the fifty most beautiful people in the world" by People Magazine.[2] The group has continued to tour North America, Europe, Japan and Australia with extensive North American and European tours following album releases in 2002 and 2004.[1] In 2008, they released Trinity Revisited in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original recording of The Trinity Session.[3]


The band was formed by three siblings from the Timmins entertainment family. Another sibling, Cali, rose to fame as an actress on Ryan's Hope. The Timmins siblings are descendants of Noah Timmins, a mining prospector who founded the Ontario city of Timmins.

Following the dissolution of Michael Timmins and Alan Anton's earlier band Hunger Project, Cowboy Junkies formed in Toronto in 1985. The band's name was chosen randomly as they approached their first gig.[citation needed]

The Trinity Session was recorded live on a single Calrec stereo microphone at the Church of the Holy Trinity in downtown Toronto by producer Peter J. Moore. This album also included a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" based on the 1969 Live album version rather than the studio version from Loaded. The single featured in the films Natural Born Killers, The Good Girl and Flight.

None of the band's subsequent albums have been hits outside of Canada, although the band has maintained a dedicated following and have continued to have chart hits in their native country. Following their 1998 album Miles from Our Home, Cowboy Junkies agreed to leave Geffen Records. They have continued to release albums on their own independent label, Latent Recordings, with distribution through other labels such as Rounder in the USA and Cooking Vinyl in the UK.

In June 2007, Cowboy Junkies performed alongside the Boston Pops at Boston Symphony Hall conducted by Keith Lockhart. The program was titled Edgefest.

In 2007 they released Trinity Revisited, a re–recording of the album featuring guest artists Ryan Adams, Vic Chesnutt, Natalie Merchant and Jeff Bird. Both the album and the film Trinity Revisited were filmed and produced by Pierre and François Lamoureux. On 9 November 2007, CBC Television aired Trinity Revisited: featuring Cowboy Junkies, which was filmed as the band recorded the new album.


Guitarist Michael Timmins in concert in 2012

Officially, there are four band members, all siblings except Anton, who was a member of Michael Timmins's two previous bands.

  • Margo Timmins (vocals, b 27 June 1961, Montreal)[1]
  • Michael Timmins (guitar and chief songwriter, b 21 April 1959, Montreal)[1]
  • Peter Timmins (drums, b 29 October 1965, Montreal)[1]
  • Alan Anton (bass, b 22 June 1959, Montreal)[1]

Since their second album the band has performed and recorded with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bird, whose current role includes acoustic and electric mandolins, harmonica, percussion, and samples.



Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Certifications
1986 Whites Off Earth Now!!
1988 The Trinity Session 28 30 26 2× Platinum Platinum
1989 The Sharon Temple Sessions (Unreleased)
1990 The Caution Horses 11 33 47 Platinum
1992 Black Eyed Man 8 21 76 Gold
1993 Pale Sun Crescent Moon 25 114 Gold
1996 Lay It Down 20 55 Gold
1998 Miles from Our Home 98
2001 Open 104 107
2004 One Soul Now 127
2005 Early 21st Century Blues
2007 At the End of Paths Taken
Trinity Revisited 94
2010 Nomad Series, Vol.1 Renmin Park 169
2011 Nomad Series, Vol.2 Demons
2011 Nomad Series, Vol.3 Sing in My Meadow
2012 Nomad Series, Vol.4 The Wilderness
2013 The Kennedy Suite (1 title on this collective album)

Live albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Certifications
1992 Live! (4-song EP)
1995 200 More Miles: Live Performances 1985-1994
2000 Waltz Across America
2002 The Radio One Sessions
Open Road (CD/DVD)
2003 In the Time Before Llamas
2006 Long Journey Home (Live)
2009 Acoustic Junk (limited edition)

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Certifications
1996 Studio: Selected Studio Recordings 1986–1995
1999 Rarities, B Sides and Slow, Sad Waltzes
2001 Best of the Cowboy Junkies
2003 Cowboy Junkies: The Platinum and Gold Collection


Year Single Chart positions Album
US Modern Rock US Radio
1989 "Sweet Jane" 75 5 The Trinity Session
"Misguided Angel" 24 39
"Blue Moon Revisited" 87
1990 "Sun Comes Up, It's Tuesday Morning" 22 5 78 90 11 The Caution Horses
"'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel" 68 15 30 93
"Rock and Bird" (with Lyle Lovett) 34 11 single only
1992 "Southern Rain" 20 6 Black Eyed Man
"A Horse in the Country" 52 23
"Murder, Tonight, in the Trailer Park" 25
"If You Were the Woman and I Was the Man" 31
1993 "Hard to Explain" 22 19 Pale Sun Crescent Moon
1994 "Anniversary Song" 10 3 28
"Sweet Jane" (live re–recording) 9 52 single only
1996 "A Common Disaster"A 11 12 20 75 Lay It Down
"Angel Mine" 7 18
"Speaking Confidentially" 34
1997 "Come Calling" 67 35
1998 "Miles from Our Home" 64 28 Miles from Our Home
2001 "I'm So Open" Open
2004 "Stars of Our Stars" One Soul Now
  • A"A Common Disaster" also peaked at No. 11 on the Canadian Rock Singles chart.

Compilation appearances[edit]


XX: Lyrics and Photographs of the Cowboy Junkies, with watercolors by Enrique Martinez Celaya. 2007. Santa Monica: Whale and Star.

The Nomad Series: Lyrics and Photographs of the Cowboy Junkies. 2012. Miami: Whale and Star.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Cowboy Junkies. Retrieved on: 19 April 2012. Archived 2 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Margo Timmins - Most Beautiful". 9 May 1990. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Cowboy Junkies. Official website. Retrieved on: 23 September 2008.
  4. ^ a b c Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-84195-017-4. 
  5. ^ "Cowboy Junkies". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2010. 

External links[edit]