Cowboy Junkies Biography
One Soul Now, the ninth studio release from Cowboy Junkies, draws together all the wisdom, passion, skill and insight collected during almost 20 years of playing, writing, touring, recording and living together as a band.
Following up the group’s acclaimed 2001 release Open, the 10 songs that make up One Soul Now mark an ambitious departure for the group; it’s the first time Cowboy Junkies have recorded entirely on their own, without the mediation of an outside producer or engineer. One Soul Now was created in the band’s rehearsal space in their hometown of Toronto, which doubled as a recording studio for the project.
“This is our first time actually making a record in the studio,” explains guitarist/songwriter/producer Michael Timmins.
“Usually, we start in the rehearsal space, figuring out a direction for the songs. This time, we had the luxury of recording everything as we worked through that process of discovery.”
“With Open,” adds singer Margo Timmins, “the songs came together while we were on the road. In the studio, I could literally do it with my eyes closed. I knew them so well. For One Soul Now, my eyes were definitely wide open. It means you have to be alive and alert to where the song is going, and I think you can hear that vibe in the album.”
Thematically, One Soul Now is the most challenging of the group’s career. The songs don’t flinch from addressing enduring questions about modern life. Michael says many were essentially recorded live off the floor of the rehearsal room, and that’s reflected in the album’s immediacy and intimacy. That feel perfectly compliments the deep blue musings of “Notes Falling Slow” and “He Will Call You Baby” and reinforces the revelations and resolutions presented in both the album’s anthemic title track and the closing song “The Slide.”
Since the platinum success of their seminal 1988 release The Trinity Session – an album which helped set the stage for the burgeoning Americana roots music movement – Cowboy Junkies have attracted an uncommonly dedicated international following which has remained loyal to the band. Although recent Cowboy Junkies albums have employed a coterie of support players to flesh out their sound, One Soul Now was conceived as a showcase for the core quartet of Michael (guitar), Margo (vocals), Peter Timmins (drums) and Alan Anton (bass). Yet One Soul Now is arguably the most outward-looking album of Cowboy Junkies’ career.
“Lyrically, it would be fair to say Open was a fairly introverted album,” said Margo. “I think this time we are confronting a lot of the same issues, but taking it out of the personal realm into something more universal. This time the songs deal with relationships over the long term and how they are affected and confused by inevitable but unforeseen forces which enter our lives – death, children, divorce, financial worries, age, sickness and just general fatigue.
“What’s true of our personal relationships is also true of our relationship to the world around us: how we see ourselves fitting in to the grand-scheme-of-things becomes more confused and less stable as we grow older.”
Michael concludes, “The idea of One Soul Now is we are all interconnected. That could be a political statement for these times. But more importantly it is a statement of personal politics. I think that we all go through the same bouts of loss and confusion. There should be a way for us all to pool our energies, our souls, and conquer these interminable cycles. I suppose that is why the notion of a God was invented: a focal point for all of our inner energies..."