The group formed in Toronto in 1985. The band's name was simply a random choice as they approached their first ever gig, but it has come to perfectly represent their sound. (Some sources may credit Townes Van Zandt's song "Cowboy Junkies Lament" as the source of the band's name, but that song was written especially for Cowboy Junkies several years after they coined the name.)
The Trinity Session is perhaps their best known record, recorded live in a single day on a single microphone in a church in Toronto. This album also included a unique cover version of The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane". Lou Reed, the song's original author, reportedly liked the Junkies' version of the song better than his own, and began performing their version in concert.
None of the band's subsequent albums have been hits outside of Canada, although the band has maintained a dedicated following and have continued to have chart hits in their native country. Following their 1998 album Miles from Our Home, Cowboy Junkies were dropped from their major label contract. They have continued to release albums on their own independent label, Latent Record...