To understand how Cowboy Junkies, arguably Canada’s first alt-country band, emerged from Toronto’s bar scene in the late 1980’s and went on to become a global touring act that has worked for more than three decades, one must remember that the city neighbourhood of Queen Street West, where the band was born, was not the fashion and shopping mecca, dotted alternately with boutiques and name brand stores, that it is today.
In 1985, the neighbourhood was a magnet for art and artists. Low rents, many spaces to perform and present (with cheap beer to boot), and a seemingly endless parade of young people looking to be inspired provided a near perfect setting for the band’s genesis. It was in this bohemian setting that guitarist Michael Timmins, along with his friend Alan Anton, enlisted the help of his brother Peter, and sister Margo in an effort to make music that was quiet, beautiful and reflective.
“We are extremely proud of the legacy of music that we have created,” explains Michael Timmins, “and more importantly the level of sophistication and expertise that we bring to it.”
Combining this sophistication with simplicity has been the band’s stock and trade ever since. After recording their second album with a single microphone in an 150 year-old gothic church, The Trinity Session became their breakthrough and was a platinum seller in the US and around the world. Since then, the band has recorded 16 studio albums, five live albums and has travelled the world many times over.
The Cowboy Junkies bring their well-traveled music to The Rose on October 18.
Unlike many bands with three decades of history, Cowboy Junkies are still regularly writing, perfecting and releasing new music. Their new record, All That Reckoning, is the follow up to 2013’s Polaris Music Prize finalist The Kennedy Suite.
“We’ll be doing two sets,” says Timmins. “The first set will be mainly comprised of songs from our new album. And the second set will be made up of songs from all the different periods of our catalogue.”
The Cowboy Junkies perform at the Rose Theatre on October 18.
Tickets are available here.