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).
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.
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.
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. 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. In 2008, they released Trinity Revisited in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the original recording of The Trinity Session.
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.
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.
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)
Michael Timmins (guitar and chief songwriter, b 21 April 1959, Montreal)
Peter Timmins (drums, b 29 October 1965, Montreal)
Alan Anton (bass, b 22 June 1959, Montreal)
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.