Canadian band Cowboy Junkies might very well be best known for their hypnotizing 1988 cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane," at least in the States.
That the band touches upon the occasional cover is something the Cowboy Junkies have always pursued.
"We're music fans," said Cowboy Junkies guitarist and songwriter Michael Timmins. "We've always enjoyed other people's music. The reason we got into this is because we're inspired by other people's songs and music. I think part of it is our way of giving back and pointing a finger at where we've come from."
The Cowboy Junkies perform two evenings at the Birchmere, Wednesday and Thursday.
|» Where: The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria|
|» When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday|
|» Info: $45, Wednesday is sold out though ticket may still be available through resellers; 703-549-7500; birchmere.com|
Fans are guaranteed at least one opportunity to hear "Sweet Jane" from the Cowboy Junkies, and so much more. The two nights at the Birchmere will each be divided into two sets. The first set each night will feature offerings from the band's ambitious four-album "Nomad Series." The second set on Wednesday will feature the band playing its classic "The Trinity Session" in its entirety; followed by the entirety of 1992's "Black Eyed Man" on Thursday.
"We're always willing to try different things and take different approaches to how we present our music," Timmins said. "It's not a bad thing. A lot of people are doing it, a lot of bands are doing that now, doing albums in their entirety. It's an interesting twist for the audience. It's another way of presenting our music."
While playing a classic album live from front to back is nothing new, the Cowboy Junkies have only dabbled in the approach, Timmins said.
"An album like 'Trinity Session,' it's not like we haven't been playing most of those songs throughout our career," Timmins said. "Most of them are in and out of our catalog in some degree all the time. String it all together as an album, it's a different perspective on them. You approach them differently, I think."
The "Nomad Series" is a collection of four albums that the Cowboy Junkies released from 2010 to 2012. Timmins said that each record reflects the group's personality, from experimental and covers to psychedelic blues and folk singer-songwriter material such as 2012's fourth volume "The Wilderness."
Cowboy Junkies formed in the mid-1980s in Toronto and feature three Timmins siblings, including vocalist Margo and drummer Peter. Alan Anton rounds out the group on bass.
Michael Timmins said that the band's long-term success is attributable to hard work and a respect for the audience. Plus they love what they do.
"We enjoy doing it," he said. "That's why we're able to continue to do it."