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Family Ties Bind Cowboy Junkies' New Album

After 20 years and 11 studio albums, The Cowboy Junkies have managed to escape the problems that have plagued their contemporaries: no messy breakups, no stints in rehab, no drawn-out legal battles, just their own distinctive sound.

Their latest album, At the End of Paths Taken, focuses on a single theme: family. It's fitting for a group with close ties: three of the band's members — singer Margo Timmins; songwriter, producer and guitarist Michael Timmins; and drummer Peter Timmins — are siblings. Margo Timmins says their work reflects the big events in their lives over the years — marriage, settling down and starting families of their own.

"You look down and you can see these young kids that have such a future ahead of them, and then when you look at my parents you see lives that are winding down," she says.

In addition to a single theme, the album features several guest musicians including Jeff Bird and Joby Baker, as well as string arrangements by Henry Kucharzyk.

"When we bring somebody into our recording process we don't tell them what to do," Michael Timmins says. "We usually bring them in because we enjoy what they do on their instruments, so we're inviting them in to bring their own personality and perspective on our music."

Margo Timmins says that after all these years, the Cowboy Junkies' devoted fans still inspire the recording process.

"The responsibility to the fans is just to give them our best, to give them an honest recording and tell them how we're feeling," she says.

Michael and Margo Timmins spoke with Rebecca Roberts from member station WBUR in Boston.

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