When Margo Timmins strolled up to the microphone in her low-cut black cocktail dress, wrapped in a scarlet shawl, with a rusty shock of hair draped over one eye a la Veronica Lake, even if you’d never seen Cowboy Junkies before, there was no mistaking her star power at the Villa Montalvo’s Garden Theatre in the summer of ’09. Timmins and two of her brothers, Michael on guitar and Peter on drums, along with bassist Alan Anton, have been doing the slow boil as Cowboy Junkies since 1985. As its name implies, the Toronto-based quartet specializes in quiet, ultra-slow tunes that might sound comforting to strung-out cowpokes hunkered down around a campfire after a long day rounding up stray dogies. Cowboy Junkies will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new Q&A with Margo.
Michael Timmins: A few years ago, I was contacted by a young Irish writer, Colum McCann, who was living in NYC. He was a fan of our music and was working on a film and was wondering if he could use a song of ours in the soundtrack. We developed an email relationship, and he sent me a couple of his books, which I read and really enjoyed. (I can’t remember what became of his film project.) We slowly lost contact. Last year I noticed a book review in the NY Times, and I thought the authors name looked familiar. Sure enough it was Colum, so I went out and bought the book and fell into its trance. It brought back a lot of memories for me: the way it described the nasty, slightly dangerous, exciting New York City of the ’70s and early ’80s: a place where we used to make overnight drives to, from Toronto, just to be touched by its energy. We would all pile in to a room at the Iroquois Hotel, check out the gig that we had come to see, then make the 10-hour drive back to Toronto. It is a beautiful piece of writing, a love story to a city and a landmark long gone.
Video after the jump.