Fonds 2005.003 - Cowboy Junkies fonds

Identity area

Reference code

CA ON00349 2005.003


Cowboy Junkies fonds


  • 1966-2004 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

7.2 m of textual records

13, 413 photographs
· 161 contact sheets (40 col., 121 b&w)
· 878 prints (652 col., 226 b&w)
· 4 Zip Discs (bearing 2,722 col. digital photographs)
· 7 Inkjet Prints (col.)
· 23 photocopies (b&w)
· 163 slides (col.)
· 9, 459 negatives (8,988 col., 471 b&w)

120 graphic materials
· 117 posters (incl. 7 handpainted items)
· 3 painted drum skins

1,679 audio recordings
· 57 2in. tapes (4 hr., 12 min.)
· 15 1in. tapes (4 min.)
· 29 ½ in. tapes
· 21 ¼ in. tapes (11 min.)
· 313 DAT cassettes (1,026 hr., 24 min.)
· 23 ADAT cassettes (31.5 hrs.)
· 204 DA88 cassettes (383 hr., 57 min.)
· 4 DDP – 8mm cassettes (6 hr., 23 min.)
· 112 DDS cartridges (71 hr., 50 min.)
· 1 DCC cassette (46 min.)
· 280 CDs (265 hr., 10 min.)
· 53 Hi8 cassettes (104 hr., 35 min.)
· 2 8mm Metal Particle Tape cassettes (1 hr., 30 min.)
· 3 PMCDs (1 hr., 58 min.)
· 11 33.3 RPM vinyl discs (5 hr., 40 min.)
· 5 45 RPM vinyl discs (56 min.)
· 546 cassettes (687 hr., 19 min.)

196 video recordings
· 27 ¾ in. tape (12 hr., 9 min.)
· 8 Beta cassettes (10 hr.)
· 7 Betacam SP (3 hr., 14 min.)
· 1 DVCam cassette
· 23 Mini DV cassettes (28 hr., 30 min.)
· 123 VHS cassettes (119 hr., 14 min.)
· 7 DVDs (6 hr., 47 min.)

2 cinefilms
· 2 reels 16mm cinefilms (col. negative) (1,920 ft)

16 electronic materials
· 16 floppy discs (bearing textual records)

ca. 60 artifacts

Context area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Formed in 1985, Cowboy Junkies achieved international stardom with the re-release of their second independently recorded album, The Trinity Session, in 1989. The band consists of siblings Margo Timmins (vocalist), Michael Timmins (guitarist/songwriter), Peter Timmins (drummer) and their friend Alan Anton (bassist). Michael Timmins and Alan Anton had previously belonged to bands The Hunger Project and Germinal, but after failing to attract audiences in New York City and England they returned to Toronto. Once back in Canada, Michael Timmins began working on new music with his brother Peter. Anton joined them, and Margo Timmins (who had been employed as a social worker) was invited to contribute vocals. Around this time, the group toured the southern United States, and was inspired by the country music they heard there.
The Cowboy Junkies began performing live in Toronto’s Queen Street West clubs, including the Beverly Tavern and the Rivoli. Their first two albums, Whites Off Earth Now! and The Trinity Sessions were also released on Latent Records (run by Michael Timmins). Both albums were recorded live, with all band members playing at once into a single microphone. RCA Records signed the band and rereleased The Trinity Session in 1989.
Through 1996, the Cowboy Junkies released five additional albums on the RCA/BMG label. They subsequently signed with Geffen Records, which released Lay it Down and Miles from Our Home. When Geffen was acquired by Universal, the Cowboy Junkies were dropped from the label and subsequent recordings have been issued on their own Latent Records label.
Over the course of their career, the Cowboy Junkies have also appeared on 13 compilation or tribute CDs, and their music has appeared in 25 different films. Michael Timmins has written five film scores and between 1990 and 1995 Latent Records released recordings by Toronto based
artists John Bottomley, Pat Temple and The Corndogs. The Cowboy Junkies have toured around the world, and have won numerous awards, including CASBY Awards andCanadian Recording Industry Association Awards.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This fonds is divided into 6 series according to format. These are: Textual Material, Photographs, Audio Material, Video Material, Cinefilms and Artifacts.
The first series, Textual Material, includes files pertaining to the production contracts for recording sessions, as well as other financial and legal documents, correspondence, notes and lyrics. Also included is paperwork related to Latent Records (artist contracts, financial journals and correspondence with other labels). Of particular significance are Margo Timmins’ and Michael Timmins’ tour diaries, Michael’s handwritten lyrics and Margo’s handwritten annotations to lyric sheets. This series also features thousands of press clippings and periodicals ranging from Rolling Stone to esoteric fanzines.
The second series, Photographs, includes photos (many taken by Margo or Michael Timmins) of recording sessions, tours, TV show appearances, special occasions, and performances. Also included are publicity photos and pictures given to the band by their fans.
The third series, Audio Material, includes cassette recordings of the band’s first live performances, as well as radio appearances and interviews. Early rehearsals and the first demos are also included here, as are the complete recording sessions used to create Whites Off Earth Now! and The Trinity Session. Perhaps most valuable are the session tapes, rough mixes, final mixes, discarded final mixes, overdub sessions and multi-track master tapes used to create each of the Cowboy Junkies’ albums (including Sharon, which was never released to the public). This series also includes the Hunger Project single and both albums by Germinal.
The fourth series, Video Material, consists of each of the band’s music videos, as well as many of the production elements for those videos. This series also includes videos that were produced but never used, and several hours of footage shot by the band while on tour and while recording. Of particular note is the footage shot during the band’s first cross Canada tour, and the footage shot for the recording of Sharon. VHS dubs of most of the band’s television performances are also included here.
The fifth series, Cinefilms, consists of 2 reels of 16mm colour negative featuring the Cowboy Junkies circa 1990.
The sixth series, Artifacts, includes backstage passes, stage props, awards, gifts from fans, posters, tshirts, hats, and handpainted drum skins.

This fonds includes graphic and textual material relating to a number of productions,

Whites Off Earth Now! (Album, 1986)
The Trinity Session (Album, 1987)
The Caution Horses (Album, 1990)
Black Eyed Man (Album, 1992)
Pale Sun, Crescent Moon (Album, 1993)
200 More Miles (Album, 1995)
House (Film, 1995)
Lay it Down (Album, 1996)
Miles From Our Home (Album, 1998)
Rarities, BSides and Slow Sad Waltzes (Album, 1999)
Waltz Across America (Album, 2000)
Open (Album, 2001)
Open Road (Album/Film, 2002)
One Soul Now (Album, 2004)
Wilby Wonderful (Film, 2004)
This fonds includes audiovisual material relating to a number of productions, including:

Whites Off Earth Now! (Album, 1986)
The Trinity Session (Album, 1987)
The Caution Horses (Album, 1990)
Black Eyed Man (Album, 1992)
Pale Sun, Crescent Moon (Album, 1993)
Liberty Street (Television, 1994)
200 More Miles (Album, 1995)
House (Film, 1995)
Lay it Down (Album, 1996)
Miles From Our Home (Album, 1998)
Niagara, Niagara (Film, 1998)
Poet: A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt (Album, 1999)
Live in Toronto (Album, 2000)
Waltz Across America (Album, 2000)
Open (Album, 2001)
Winnipeg Folk Festival (Live Performance, 2001)
Open Road (Album/Film, 2002)
One Soul Now (Album, 2004)
Wilby Wonderful (Film, 2004)
Por Vida: A Tribute to Alejandro Escovedo (Album, 2004)

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


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Some restrictions exist. Please consult an archivist for list.

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Media Commons does not own copyright of collection materials. Consult rights holder for reproduction(s).

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Copied from Drupal by Adam Cavanaugh 2022/04/29




Cowboy Junkies website:

“The Cowboy Junkies”, The Canadian Encyclopedia

“Cowboy Junkies.” Contemporary Musicians, Volume 38. Gale Group, 2003.

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