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Frequently, the most poetic and atmospheric interpreters of America‘s native music are Canadians: The Band, Neil

Young and . . .er. Bryan Adams, for instance. Inheritors of a great tradition, MARGO and MICHAEL TIMMINS ofThe Cowboy Junkies explained to Paul W. Hullah why the family that plays together stays together.

81 he l.Is128l'chruary 12 March l‘)‘)2

ew Age Americana. Don’t you just love it? The Cowboy Junkies do. and. over the seven years that the Toronto concern has been together, their doleful. blues- embroidered, country-swathed tapestries for the 90s have won many admirers. Named last year as one of ‘The Worlds 50 Most Beautiful People‘ by America‘s People magazine. chanteuse Margo Timmins. she of the ripped denims and Pre-Raphaelite looks. speaks slowly in a placid. hushed murmur. At the lounge bar of La Reserve hotel, Fulham, Margo is trying to analyse her group‘s success. Her songwriting and guitar-playing brother Michael (it‘s a family affair another sibling. Peter. drums. and their mother is the ‘career consultant’) looks on. soberly. ‘We‘ve developed,’ she says recalling the band‘s early days and many a somnambulant

Velvet Underground cover version. ‘but we’ve stayed the same really.‘

‘We‘re blues and we're country. I guess. if you want to give labels to what we do.‘ offers Michael. ‘With some folk music in there. and also rock. ()n the new record. we‘ve experimented with instrumentation and time-shifts. trying to make the musical structures a little more complex than before. Another development is that Margo‘s singing out now. changing her style. adding power and new textures.‘

‘We just tell stories over music.‘ interrupts Margo. 'Maybe I'm less involved in Michael‘s lyrics now. I used to want to be the song. whereas now I‘ve realised it's sufficient just to be the singer. I’ve stepped back from it all.’ she concludes. in a dreamy whisper. from beneath a mane of sunbleached hair.

Described by Rolling Stone as ‘the coolest