Cowboy Junkies Remain the Same, Back With Different Material

Few bands are intact a quarter century after forming. U2 and Cowboy Junkies are among the few quartets to feature the same lineup for 25 years.       “It’s certainly a feat,” Cowboy Junkies guitarist-songwriter Michael Timmins said while calling from Syracuse. “The family connection certainly helps.”      Timmins is flanked by vocalist sister Margo and his brother Peter on drums and longtime family friend, bassist Alan Anton. “We all have the same values,” Timmins said. “None of us have ever wanted a stretch limo after a show. The bus is fine with us. That might sound trivial but it’s not. That’s the kind of thing that splits bands. We’ve never had that problem. We just want to make the most interesting music possible.”         The group’s forthcoming album, ‘Renmin Park’ which will drop in June, will be showcased Saturday at the World Café.           ‘Renmin Park’ was inspired by Timmins three-month trip to China in 2008. Timmins’ made the trek for the benefit of his two adopted Chinese daughters.        “I wanted them to see where they came from,” Timmins said. “My wife got a job teaching English and it was a very powerful family experience. My younger daughter, who is seven-years old had fun but my older daughter, who is 12-years old made some connections and it was just incredible for them.”       Timmins started taking notes and made recordings. “It was incredibly noisy in the city of Jinjiang,” Timmins said. “I created some loops with these sounds and added them for background for this album and it really helped with the atmosphere.”          It was only natural for Timmins to document his experience sonically. I’ve always written about what’s going on in my life,” Timmins said. “The adventure in China was one of the richest, most important trips of my life and we have an album from it.”          Expect the Cowboy Junkies to play about five songs from the new album. “That’s about the right amount,” Timmins said. “We have fans who are all about us playing new material and then we have fans who want the catalog. We try to offer something for everyone that comes out to our shows. We’re just pleased to continue playing our music.”       Timmins believes the band can continue to exist for many years as long as the group doesn’t lose a member of the act.        “I don’t’ see any reason why we would stop,” Timmins said. “We can do this for quite awhile since we still love making music together. If one member of this band would leave, it would destroy the band. Fortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. We have quite a bit on our plate.”        Indeed. ‘Renmin Park’ is the first of four Cowboy Junkie albums slated to be released as part of their ‘Nomad’ series. “For the first time in 20 years we are free of a recording contract and we’re writing and recording more than we ever have. We have so many ideas. We have so much work to do and we’re enjoying making music as much as we ever have enjoyed it.

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