There are some days when I’m pretty sure the Cowboy Junkies are my favorite band. Whether or not that’s true — it depends on my mood, or if it’s raining outside (they ARE my favorite Canadian band) — I do know that I would gladly drive hundreds of miles to see one of their shows.
Back in 2001, while having a bad day on the job — my first ever job out of college — I decided to act young and foolish and leave work a tad early and drive to Kansas City from St. Louis. To see the Cowboy Junkies. At a place called The Beaumont Club. With no tickets.
Screw it, I thought — I was 21 years old.
It turned out to be one of the best concert/music experiences of my life. Sure, the three-and-a-half hour drive home required like 80 sodas and don’t-even-think-about-closing-your-eyes-or-this-could-be-the-end concentration, and I had to wake up at something like 7 the following morning, but whatever. At least I know this now: I’ll always love the Cowboy Junkies.
And I am super pumped about what is currently happening with the band as they enter their 25th year making music. The next 18 months will give us four Junkies albums, which they are calling “The Nomad Series.” We’re talking original songs, a Vic Chesnutt cover album, and an interesting collaboration with an awesome Cuban-American painter, Enrique Martinez Celaya. You can read more details of what is exactly going on here.
We also got a chance to very briefly catch up with Junkies’ chief songwriter and guitarist Michael Timmins. So, here ya go!
1. So, the band’s plan is to release four albums worth of material in about 18 months, according to your website. Have you been talking with Ryan Adams again or something?
We used CCR’s release schedule for 1968-70 as our guide.
2. Your last studio album, At the End of Paths Taken, focused mainly on family and the crazy, hectic world that surrounds us. What are themes your are focusing on this time around?
With four albums in the works, there are quite few things and themes. The first album is called Renmin Park, and is based around a three month extended stay that my family and I had in China. It is about the people we met, the stories we heard, the music we heard and were introduced to, and the impact that the trip had on us.
3. Let’s say I know nothing or very little about your music. Where do I start? What songs should I download immediately?
I always recommend the latest album…so At The End Of Paths Taken would be my choice.
4. You toured a bit with Son Volt last year. Were there any memories that stood out for you?
Standing side stage in Boulder,and having my head blown off by their sonic onslaught.
5. Finally, a general question for you, since you are one of my favorite songwriters. What great song lyrics stand out as some of the greatest you’ve ever heard and/or repeat over in your mind?