XX Cowboy Junkies

2006. Lyrics and photographs of the Cowboy Junkies, with watercolors by Enrique Martínez Celaya. 148 pages. 87 illustrations in color. Hardcover.

“For us it all begins with a song: an acoustic guitar and a voice. But each song comes to each album with its own history, along its own strange path. Some are born and realized in a matter of minutes, others take years to finally find a place. Some pop out and are perfect little gems, others mutate and transform themselves, stealing and pillaging from the unformed.”
-Michael Timmins, Cowboy Junkies

XX celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Cowboy Junkies, one of the most distinctive and influential rock bands in recent years. Starting with the seminal album The Trinity Session, the Canadian band’s signature sound, based on traditional blues and post-punk rock, has garnered much critical acclaim and an uncommonly devoted international following. The Cowboy Junkies are: guitarist and lyricist Michael Timmins, bassist Alan Anton and Timmins’s siblings Margo (lead vocals) and Peter (drums). Michael Timmins has created narratives–poems–of everyday life.

They bring to mind the musical legacy of Hank Williams, Robert Johnson and Lou Reed as well as the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Miguel Hernández and Robert Frost. Timmins’s poignant and deceptively simple images and songs embody truths without feeling pedantic or overworked. The understated quality of his songwriting finds a medium in the haunting and warm voice of his sister and the rich and spare sound of the band to deliver songs of gain, loss, vulnerability and hope.

This book, the first solely devoted to the Cowboy Junkies, offers an intimate look at the band from the point of view of their own photographs and many of the original handwritten lyrics of Michael Timmins, who also chose the selection of songs. Each lyric is accompanied by a work on paper created by Enrique Martínez Celaya, a world-renowned artist and a friend of the band. He helped arrange the photographs and Michael’s notes, and created the watercolors over a period of a few months while listening to the Cowboy Junkies’ music.


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