Cowboy Junkies

Heard of them for years. Finally, today, just finished listening to the Trinity Sessions cd. I'm freakin out. Can't believe these guys. Do they get better than this? This is an early album, obviously. Their first? Where do I go from here? Thanks in advance. peace,
I know I am going to get thrashed for this one, how ever, I feel I must finally share. I don't like the Cowboy Junkies, I was so looking forward to something new that sounds good and I got Trinity Sessions- listened to it once and thought I missed something. So then I bought Caution Horses and Miles from our Home, I don't know I just could NEVER get into it- I wanted to like it; I even tried! But it just didn't happen :( I can say that their work all has a distinct sound to it so if you liked any of the the three that I have you will probably like all of them. I now I just lost the little bit of credibility that I had here at this site :( But any ways Warren I am glad you like them, you really seem to be making a lot of progress with your music tastes evolving! :o)
Luckily, we all don't care for the same.
Welcome to the Cowboy Junkies fan club Warren. Tim, You're still cool here on A'Gon, IMO-- even though you have questionable taste;>). For me (a major Cowboy Junkies fan) the Junkies were an acquired taste, and as my stereo system improved, I liked them more and more. When I finally fell in love with them I believe it was for good.

The "Trinity Session" is probably their best known album, but they're all good with the possible exception of "Open"-- which I've had a hard time warming up to. If you're up for a somewhat "different" Junkies sound, I can highly recommend "Waltz Across America".

Other favorites of mine are "The Caution Horses"-- slow, sad ballads, and "Studio Sessions", which is sort of a best of CD. Their latest, "The Radio One Sessions", which was recorded in London is a very nice compilation of their already famous songs, but the versions are different, and I like it. Cheers. Craig
"Lay It Down" is a great record.
WarrenH, like you I fell for Trinity Sessions. For another fix I got Miles From Our home. It's got some catchy tunes but it's mediocre. When I got Lay It Down I thought I'd refound the magic. It's pretty good pop but still not magical like Trinity Sessions. Then I got Open and realized good ole Margo Timmins had reached her limit as an interpreter. With a voice like hers, it's too bad she's not a songwriter. The album is crap. The spell is broken.

On Open, the Junkies seemed to be trying too hard to break away from their successful sound. To me it was change for change sake. Maybe they were fed up with their own music. The songwriting/arranging message was "hey look I'm still a rebel, just listen to this adroit deviation from our usual formula." Open truly conveys an emptiness of expression I never thought I'd get from the Junkies. And it's a shame Margo Timmins had no choice but to sing what she was fed. That one album spoiled the whole party.
I don't know why i still keep this Trinity Sessions LP since I listened to them for only twice.

Bought their SACD and it happened again.
As a Cowboy Junkies fan also, I think they peaked artistically in the region of Caution Horses and Black Eyed Man. It's been downhill ever since, not precipitously but steadily. The last time I saw them in concert a little over a year ago, I didn't enjoy it much. Sad but that's the way it seems to go; they run out of good ideas and then try to "expand their horizons" or whatever it is they do at that point. Still, their earlier work is exceptional. So I guess my recommendation is to just go in chronological order until you start getting disappointed, then stop. As an aside, get the album "Poet", a tribute to Townes Van Zandt that they do one song on. An excellent album in its own right.
Tireguy,you just aquired a little bit of credibility.
Karl, that ideal makes a whole lot of sense. After Trinity Sessions, what's the chronological order of their stuff, particulary Caution Horses, Mile from...Lay it Down, The Radio One...., Black Eyed... Thanks in advance. Warren
I'm with Karls. Earlier stuff very good IMO, but I'd even consider stopping at "Caution Horses" (# 3).

BTW, "Whites Off Earth Now" is their first, and it's musically good, IMO. Little more bluesy feel to it, I'd say.
I like em, I love em, all of them, haven't hear open.

The Trinity Sessions was recorded on a DAT.
If you listen very closely on Mining for Gold, you can hear the air handler in the background, birds, taffic etc. Interesting recording.

They are definately a love em or leave em band. My wife leaves em just fine.

To each their own,

I haven't liked anything I've heard from the Cowboy Junkies since "Trinity Sessions." It must have been a fluke. If you liked it on CD, you should hear the LP!
Whites Off Earth Now is their second best disc in my opinion with Trinity Sessions being their (considerable) best, I do not like the rest of their stuff much, but really like these two. Whites Off Earth Now is more bluesy like Chams uk notes and a little rough aroung the edges and it focuses more on guitar with an edge, a little like early Fleetwood Mac from the 60s.

I often like the first few efforts of a group when their ideas are freshest or something along that line. I just thought these guys got boring in the later albums.
In my book, "Pale Sun, Crescent Moon" is another one that should not be missed. It rocks more than the "Trinity Session" (electric guitars) but it also includes some nice ballads. The sound quality is also good. Many members seem to like "The Caution Horses". I respect their choice but IMO it is a bit unequal and the last half of the album is not as strong as the first one. It's a matter of taste. Check the AMG ( for further info on their albums.
I'm a little embarassed by it but its true; I first heard Margo Timmons and her crew while watching Miami Vice...MisGuided Angel I believe, and owned the cd the next day. Miami Vice was cool back in the day...wasn't it? :/
chronological order:
whites off earth now 1986
the trinity sessions 1988*
the caution horses 1990*
black eyed man 1992*
pale sun crescent moon 1993
lay it down 1996*
miles from our home 1998
open 2001

200 more miles 1995* (double live album, good)
waltz across america 2000 (live album, also good)
the radio one sessions 2002 (bbc studio compilation, also pretty good)
rarities, b-sides and slow, sad waltzes ? (i think this came direct from their website)

* my top five

This is from my collection. Did I miss anything?
Karls; glad to meet another big Junkies fan-- and nice list. There are 3 others that I have:
* "Studio" Selected recordings 1986-1995. 1996. A nice compilation.
* "Best of Cowboy Junkies". Released by RCA against the Cowboy Junkies wishes. 2001. I felt sort of guilty buying this one, but it is a good compilation.
* "Open Road". This CD was released along with a DVD video and is a recent set of live recordings-- both the CD and DVD are good. Open Road is probably only available from the Junkies web site, or

To those who casually put the Junkies music in the pop category, I respectfully disagree. In fact, I've never been able to classify their style. To me, it has elements of folk, rock, pop, blues, and country, and it's one of the reasons their music is so fascinating to me. Cheers. Craig
Craig, Karl, all you guys--thanks. I'm on it. Apprecite the posts. I'm a Junkie now....peace, warren
Tireguy you do have good taste
Hey, the Junkies are still batting over 300. Black Eyed man doesn't do it to me like Trinity and Caution Horses. Gots a couple of more on the way. Margo is best when she doesn't try to belt it. She's no Eva Cassidy in that respect. I'm digging her though. Intimate, sweet, provocative voice, with good muscians to boot. I'll keep you posted. You Junkies agree so far? Maybe Black Eyed Man will get better. 'twas only the first listen, though the others did it right away. peace, warren
Warren; while I like the CD "Black Eyed Man", I agree that Margo doesn't have a world class voice. What really appeals to me about her voice is that she can sound intimate and haunting at the same time-- and on much music.

But the real strenth of the Junkies is the way they come together as a band, ie not just a singer standing up in front of a group of studio muscians. To me, Michael Timmins is the most talented member of the band-- he writes much of their music, arranges, produces, and has a very unique lead quitar style.

Also, They have a guy that travels with them that plays (I believe) 5 different instruments-- mandolin, harmonica, and others. How many "pop" bands use these kinds of instruments? The Junkies never cease to entertain me. Glad to hear that you continue to enjoy their music too. Cheers. Craig
I agree with you 100%. I'm going to give "Black Eyed Man" more time. Trinity Sessions, still, does it best for me, with Caution Horses not far behind. I have Lay it Down, (I believe,it's called) on the way. peace, warren
I'm a long time junkies fan. I think everything through lay it down is good - with the songwriting and performances on lay it down being a peak for the band. I am disaappointed with miles from our home and open, the follow ups to lay it down. They seemed to lack the melodic sense that made the earlier albums so enjoyable. Give black eyed man a chance, it really grows on you. To live is to fly is a beutiful tribute to Janice Joplin. Great song (i believe written by townes van zandt) and great performance. In terms of what stays in my cd player, its lay it down, pale sun crescent moon and black eyed man. The Trinity Sessions to me are fine, but are more of a critic's darling piece and quite frankly it doesn't end up being played nearly as often as lay it down. The Caution horses has some fine songs on it, but the band seemed to be treading water on the way to the much more expansive black eyed man, pale sun and lay it down. The title track on pale sun is crescent moon; one of the most haunting songs they've ever done, and hard to explain is blues - with some pretty impressive guitar leads. Lay it down speaks for itself - common disaster, come calling, just want to see are highlights and will stand the test of time. Lay it down sounds as fresh to me today as when it was first released. Highly recommended.
does anybody want to buy my copy of trinity sessions for cheap? I bought it because so many were raving about it here at audiogon, but it doesn't do much for me.
I agree Bux-Its clean music-but its liking eating rice cakes. Not a drop of substance. I have also TRIED to like the Trinity Session. It just falls way short. I hope I haven't offended any of my fellow "audiogon junkies" no pun intended
I have a pristine Trinity Sessions lp, played twice I think. Once when I bought it years ago, and once in the last year or two after I learned from someone in the industry the way the vocals were recorded. Some members of the band confirmed the rumor in an NPR interview. The singer was actually singing into her own microphone. The signal from her mic was played through a Klipsch speaker, which was then recorded by the mics that were recording the band.

When I first played the lp, I just found it boring, much as I think Tim suggests in the first response to this thread. Maybe I'm just not sophisticated enough to appreciate the reworking of some familiar songs. When I played it recently, the vocals just seem a little unnatural, but to appreciate that defect you have to have timbrally accurate speakers - this was not something I noticed with my old Monitor Audio speakers. I imagine she sounds great if you like the sound of Klipsch speakers.
I love rice cakes. Couldn't disagree more re: Trinity Sessions. Hey whattayagonado?
I guess I am pretty late catching up with this thread but my copy of Trinity Sessions only arrived a few days back.This was my first exposure to the Junkies having heard great things on this site.Like most naive audiophiles,I am a sucker for things new having spent dollops of hard earned cash on esoteric hardware(just kidding, am enormously proud of my system !).
Wow its a great album - all the tracks sound the same!!!Monotonous sameness. No offence meant to hard core Junkies, the most apt description of this album : sonorous lullabies.
I saw them at the Portsmouth Music Hall several years ago and they were good. If you like them, a few of their concerts are listed on Futher.