With just over 30 years in the music industry, Cowboy Junkies are still at it, performing on their tour in both Canada and the U.S.
The PNR caught up with lead vocalist Margo Timmins to talk about their most recent album Notes Falling Slow and what it’s like to perform with her family 24/7.
The gang, which consists of Timmin’s brothers Michael and Peter and their friend Alan Anton, will be heading to the Mary Winspear Centre at the end of this month to perform as a five piece band doing two sets.
“The first set is music off of the CD that we’re trying to sell which is Notes Falling Slow and then we take a break and then we come back and do all the older songs from (The) Trinity Session and all that sort of stuff…” she told the News Review.
She said there will also be a mix of acoustic along with some of their more ‘noisier’ pieces.
Their latest album Notes Falling Slow, released last year, is a compilation of songs.
“We were trying to put together a tour and when you do that, when you look at your repertoire and try to pick out songs, you start to listen to all your old records and what you were listening to,” said Timmins, referencing the three albums the group released between 1999 and 2003.
“It was kind of odd because we all had the same reaction which was pretty much we couldn’t really remember doing them, didn’t remember touring them … and they weren’t bad, we were listening going ‘oh these aren’t bad,’” she said with a laugh.
The group then began to wonder what they were doing at that period in their lives, and most of them, she said, were having children, with the babies starting to arrive.
“I think… when the babies arrive, everything else in the world shuts down and you do stuff but you don’t really know you’re doing it…”
“And the songs on those albums are all about that change, of becoming parents and becoming the middle generation of having young children coming into the world and having older parents that are going out.”
They thought they’d package it as one unit because their audience is that age and in that space and thought the audience could appreciate the songs.
“It’s a new packaging of old stuff,” she said, adding that there is a lot of new material on there as well that didn’t make it onto the original three.
Being in a band that consists mostly of her family, Timmins said she’s never been in any other band and therefore can’t compare it to anything else.
What she does know is that a band is very much like family. And in this case, that’s exactly right.
“You are together a lot and there’s a lot of good times but there’s also a lot of stress and a lot of decision making and I think my brothers and I have been able to withstand the music industry and all that it throws at you because we share the same values, and our definition of success is the same.”
Their fourth member, Alan, she said, is also like family as he grew up in their home and they have known each other since nursery school.
“It doesn’t mean every day’s been perfect and we never fought, we do, but I think we realize what’s more important than our arguments, which is the band and then of course family.”
When it comes to Timmins favourite moments, she was humble with her response, saying that the band has done many different things over their long career.
“We’re a working band, it’s not like we’ve had such huge success that we can all retire to our Hawaiian estate…” she said, adding that they’ve gotten to play all over the world at all kinds of different venues.
“We’ve never been so huge that we can only play the stadiums, we do it all.”
Just recently, the group got to do a gig in China on the Great Wall.
“I mean, there we are in China, the only white band in this festival standing on the Great Wall playing…”
“Was it our best musical moment? No, but we were standing on the Great Wall,” she laughed.
The gang is currently working on the beginning stage of writing a new album, their focus for this fall and early 2017. Once it’s written, they will be up and at it again touring.
The group will perform at the Mary Winspear Centre on Sept. 30.
For ticket information call 250 656 0275.