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Cowboy Junkies return to NZ for the first time in over 20 years

Canadian alt-country pioneers Cowboy Junkies will return to New Zealand for the first time in over 20 years in January 2023. Anyone who has followed Cowboy Junkies’ three-decade-long journey knows the band has always remained true to its unique artistic vision. In the late 80s, the band proved that there was an audience waiting for something quiet, beautiful and reflective. THE TRINITY SESSION was like a whisper that cut through the noise with its introspective, quiet intensity.

Michael Timmins says the band’s most recent studio albums reflect upon "empty hearts, empty nests, lost paths, lost lives, and all the reckoning that brings about the end of things", with GHOSTS dedicated to processing the loss of the Timmins siblings' mother who died in 2018.

SONGS OF THE RECOLLECTION, scheduled for March 11, is a different collection of songs altogether. Michael Timmins recalls, "we grew up sitting around the record player listening to each other's record collections and having our minds blown. This was the passion that we shared. Our goal has always been to create music that took hold of the listener the way that this music took hold of us. These are some of the songs and some of the artists that found their way into our lives and eventually into our repertoire over the past 50 years."

Cowboy Junkies inadvertently started a revolution when they appeared in the late ‘80s. THE TRINITY SESSION featured the band’s unforgettable cover of the Velvet Underground’s ‘Sweet Jane’, and combined folk, country, blues and rock in a way that had never been heard before. It went on to sell more than a million copies but its influence was broader and deeper. Indeed, the record presaged the subsequent alternative-country movement in the ‘90s and beyond, with its general mood – the album had been recorded in a church with the group performing around a single microphone.

Over subsequent albums the group helped introduce its audience to the work of seminal singer-writers including both Townes Van Zandt and John Prine, and their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘State Trooper’ helped introduce him to the alternative world. All the while they were building a canon of similarly pared-down original songs and a catalogue of acclaimed albums to rival those of their favourites.

Formed in Toronto in 1985 with siblings Michael Timmins on guitar, Margo Timmins on vocals, Peter Timmins on drums, and Michael’s lifelong friend Alan Anton on bass, the band has remained true to themselves and unlike most long-lasting groups, has never had a break up, endured a line-up change, or taken a hiatus. The group has created a critically acclaimed body of work that has endeared them to an audience unwavering in its loyalty, and which is ripe for discovery by those who may have lost track along the way, or indeed who are new to the group’s many charms. Cowboy Junkies forthcoming tour of New Zealand will be one the undoubted highlights of post-pandemic return to live concerts.

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