Cowboy Junkies were formed in Toronto in 1985 after guitarist and songwriter Michael Timmins and long-time friend and musical partner, bassist Alan Anton, recruited Michael’s sister, singer Margo Timmins and brother, drummer Peter Timmins to join them.
The band recorded its blues-inspired debut album Whites Off Earth Now!! (1986) and released it on their own Latent label. Touring the US in support of the album, they traveled extensively through the South and Southwest, soaking up the music of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and others, which provided the inspiration for the band’s second effort, The Trinity Session. The Trinity Session, the band’s seminal album, is a melancholic mixture of blues, country, folk, and rock featuring a collection of originals, covers and traditional songs.
For more than 20 years, Cowboy Junkies have remained true to their unique artistic vision and to the introspective, quiet intensity that is their musical signature, creating a critically acclaimed body of original work that has endeared them to an audience unwavering in its loyalty. Albums like The Caution Horses (1990), Black Eyed Man (1992), Pale Sun, Crescent Moon (1993), Lay It Down (1996) and more recently, Open (2001), One Soul Now (2004), Early 21st Century Blues (2005) and At the End of Paths Taken (2007) chronicle a creative journey reflecting the independent road the band has elected to travel.
Cowboy Junkies returned to Toronto’s Church of the Holy Trinity for a day in November 2006, joined by Ryan Adams, Natalie Merchant and Vic Chesnutt to revisit the repertoire of The Trinity Session in celebration of its 20th anniversary. The resulting film, Trinity Session Revisited, released as a DVD/CD in January 2008.
In 2012, the band released The Wilderness, Volume 4 of The Nomad Series, marking the conclusion of an ambitious schedule of four releases over an 18-month period, including Sing In My Meadow, a collection of songs that evokes the psychedelic, blues-inspired forays the band is fond of exploring on stage, Renmin Park, inspired by Michael Timmins’ two-month stay in China with his family in ‘08 and Demons, a collection of songs by the late Vic Chesnutt.
Cowboy Junkies began 2016 celebrating the release of Notes Falling Slow, a box set which includes re-mastered versions of the three studio albums that Cowboy Junkies released in the 2000's (Open, One Soul Now and At The End Of Paths Taken) and a fourth disc, Notes Falling Slow, consisting of songs that were written during the making of the three studio albums, but never completed or released. In the summer of 2015, the band re-imagined and recorded the songs for this collection. The resulting recordings have a touch of the band’s trademark psychedelia with a large dose of their folk roots shining through.
The band has appeared on countless major television shows in North America from Saturday Night Live to Late Night with David Letterman and the Tonight Show. Their music has been featured in dozens of television programs and feature films.