Canadian musician Michael Timmins and his childhood friend Alan Anton formed a group called Hunger Project in 1979.
It was not successful and, relocating to the UK, they formed an experimental instrumental group, Germinal.
Returning to Toronto, they joined forces with Timmins’ sister Margo and brother Peter.
As the Cowboy Junkies, they recorded their first album, Whites Off Earth Now! (1986) in a private house.
Their second album, The Trinity Session (1988), was made in a single day with one microphone in the Holy Trinity church in downtown Toronto for $250.
The band’s spartan, less-is-more sound captivated listeners, and, with little publicity, the second album sold 250,000 copies in North America.
The tracks included a curious reinterpretation of Blue Moon, called Blue Moon Revisited (Song For Elvis) and the country standards I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry and Walking After Midnight.
Lou Reed praised their version of his song Sweet Jane and, in 1991, they contributed To Lay Me Down in a tribute to The Grateful Dead, Deadicated.
Their 1990 album, The Caution Horses, included several vintage country songs which, true to form, were performed in their whispered, five-miles-per-hour style.