THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Sometimes revolutions begin quietly. In 1988, Cowboy Junkies proved that there was an audience waiting for something quiet, beautiful and reflective. Their album The Trinity Session was like a whisper that cut through the noise — and it was compelling. It stood out in the midst of the flash and bombast that came to define the late ’80s. The now-classic recording combined folk, blues and rock in a way that had never been heard before and went on to sell more than a million copies.
Cowboy Junkies will continue their quiet revolution with the release of Such Ferocious Beauty on June 2, 2023 via their own Latent Recordings. This is the band’s first release of new material in five years and follows their heralded 2022 collection of covers, Songs Of The Recollection. Such Ferocious Beauty is vintage Cowboy Junkies and another dimension from the lo-fi Canadian band comprised of siblings Margo, Michael and Peter Timmins and lifelong friend Alan Anton. The new body of work is a rumination on aging, losing parents, facing mortality, and creating space for one’s life in the midst of the ruin that comes from merely living.
Today, the band share What I Lost, the first emphasis track that reflects on the last several months of the Timmins’ father’s life. The song is a reflection on conversations that Michael had with his father during his battle with dementia, “memories of his flying days as a bush pilot in northern Quebec and his love of jazz and his experiences of seeing the great big bands of the ’50s would often work their way into our conversations. I would often think about all of those memories and experiences that were slowly being eaten away by the dementia and would eventually completely disappear with his death. Lines like ‘This is what I lost’ and ‘I can sit here and wait’ from What I Lost and Shadows 2 are not so much about him, but about me.”
The song is captured in a video for which Peter Timmins created an artistic interpretation of the effects of dementia on the person and those around them. “The man in the video is our father,” says Michael Timmins, “sitting in his living room listening to Duke Ellington … I’m not sure what he is thinking. The color ‘super 8’ footage is from the late ’50s, taken in Montreal and Magog, Quebec by our grandfather (our Mom’s dad). The people in it are my dad, mom and aunt (mom’s sister) … there are some quick glances of our oldest brother and an uncle (my mom’s brother). There are also a few quick flashes of family pics of all the kids (us and our siblings).”
For Such Ferocious Beauty, Michael stresses that he and Margo spent more time working through the songs, letting her interpretations really settle before taking them into the studio. And once in the studio, he worked with Alan and Peter to create even more dynamic tracks than usual. “This is a different kind of recording; there’s a denseness to it. In many ways the music, the choice of certain structures, the tones used become as important in communicating the albums themes as do the lyrics.” “The songs are expressions of Mike’s soul,” says Margo Timmins, “but once written, once he gives them to me, to the band, and eventually the audience, there is no right or wrong interpretation.”
Formed in Toronto in 1985, the band have sparkled over the course of 26 albums. “I’ve known Alan longer than I’ve known Pete,” says Michael. “We were friends before Pete was born.” Unlike most long-lasting groups, Cowboy Junkies have never had a breakup or taken a sanity-saving hiatus. There’s an appreciation of each other that keeps them working. “It’s that intimacy and understanding of what each one of us brings to the table,” says Michael.
For nearly 40 years, Cowboy Junkies have remained true to their unique artistic vision and to the introspective, quiet intensity that is their 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.
Speaking of travel, the band have already booked a slate of Ontario concerts this fall. All tickets for the following shows go on sale on Friday, March 31:
2023 ONTARIO FALL TOUR:
AN EVENING WITH COWBOY JUNKIES
Sept. 27 – St. Catharines, ON @ FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre TICKETS
Sept. 29 – Windsor, ON @ Chrysler Theatre TICKETS
Sept. 30 – Sarnia, ON @ Imperial Theatre TICKETS
Oct. 1 – Guelph, ON @ River Run Centre TICKETS
Oct. 3 – Toronto, ON @ The Danforth Music Hall TICKETS
Oct. 4 – Kingston, ON @ Kingston Grand Theatre TICKETS
Oct. 5 – Peterborough, ON @ Showplace Performance Centre TICKETS