Cowboy Junkies

Cowboy Junkies perform two sold-out shows at the Musical Instrument Museum. (Heather Pollock/Contributor)

Margo Timmins looks forward to playing new and exciting venues, like the Musical Instrument Museum in North Phoenix.

But after the pandemic-dictated break, she and the rest of the Cowboy Junkies are pleased to play anywhere.

“The Musical Instrument Museum sounds interesting, and it feeds the head, so that’s good,” she said.

The band — who plays two sold-out shows Tuesday, July 19, and Wednesday, July 20 — will feature a little bit of everything in its show. The singer is joined by her siblings, songwriter and guitarist Michael and drummer Peter. Rounding out the band is bassist Alan Anton.

“We do two sets,” Timmins said. “Our first set is more focused on the newer stuff. Then we take a break. Then we come back and do all the old stuff. The second set always has an acoustic set with Mike and I playing two or three songs. It’s a nice quiet moment, but it changes every night.”

A standard in the Cowboy Junkies’ set is “Sweet Jane,” a cover of The Velvet Underground song. Saying the Montreal band “covers” songs doesn’t quite do it justice. Like greats from the classic pop standards era, the Cowboy Junkies interpret the music of others. They embrace the songs, adapting them in their own style.

The band’s latest release, “Songs of the Recollection,” has nine songs by some of the Cowboy Junkies’ favorite artists. Some of the tracks are newly recorded, while some are collected from earlier projects.

The collection features songs from David Bowie, Neil Young, Gram Parsons, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Vic Chesnutt and The Cure.

“We have a lot of covers,” she said. “People seem to enjoy them. For the album, we decided to look into the vault and see what we had there. It was really fun because they were songs that I hadn’t even remembered I ever sang.

“I found the Neil Young song, ‘Don’t Let It Bring You Down.’ I love that song, but I don’t remember recording it. When I heard it, it was like hearing it for the first time. There were a couple like that. I’ve sung a million songs. It was fun to go back and also to go forward.”

Timmins called it a “project of love.”

“They all are, but that one was fun to go back and listen to all this music.” 

Now, fans will listen to them. They can expect different sets each night.

“Different rooms require different songs,” she said.

“If you’re playing a room like the Musical Instrument Museum and it has that ambiance, we play the more intricate stuff. If it’s a bar, we play the louder stuff to cut across the noise of people ordering beer.”

Cowboy Junkies 

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, and Wednesday, July 20

WHERE: Musical Instrument Museum, 4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix

COST: Sold out