Acclaimed Canadian folk-rock band Cowboy Junkies appear at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown on Thursday, July 19, touring in support of their latest record, “All That Reckoning,” which is slated for release on July 13. The group will take the stage at 8 pm, and tickets, which can be purchased on the Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series website, range in price from $83 to $88. Formed in 1985 in Toronto, the band is comprised of lead vocalist Margo Timmins, guitarist and songwriter Michael Timmins, drummer Peter Timmins, and bassist Alan Anton. The band is out with their first album of new material since the 2012 release of “Nomad Series, Vol. 4 The Wilderness,” and for longtime fans and newcomers alike, the record does not disappoint. Margo Timmins recently spoke with The Times by phone about the upcoming performance and the impact of the band’s latest studio effort.
Have you visited the Island before?
When we were kids we used to rent beach houses all over the place. When I got married, I had my honeymoon on Martha’s Vineyard because I wanted to go back, and then every year my husband and I would return in September. It’s one of my favorite places.
Can you tell me about the process of making the new record?
I don’t think there is a person on the planet who isn’t being influenced by what’s going on in your country and the stress and fear it’s causing, and the concern and worry that we all have for our futures, our children’s futures, and each other. Those sorts of concerns filter into this album all over the place. I think that’s what “All This Reckoning” is about. It’s about looking deeper and figuring out what’s important and what we value as humans. We all have the same needs, and I think that’s where Mike wrote from.
When I sing songs, I often sing from an internal, personal view. I’m not a big global thinker or political person. So I think I took a lot of the songs and sang them from a more one-on-one feeling. “All That Reckoning” to me is not just reckoning with the world but with yourself and your family. You have to look at yourself and say, “Is this who I want to be? Is this the life I want to live? Because there will come a time when I won’t be able to change it.” I think “All That Reckoning” is about coming to some sort of acceptance of life as it is now.
Listeners can hear the personal and global theme reflected in your latest single, “The Things We Do to Each Other.”
When I first heard the song, I went right to the personal — what we do to each other in families, friends to friends, husbands to wives, wives to husbands, mothers to children. Humans aren’t always the kindest, and sometimes all it takes is to be polite. It would change the world to just be polite — not rude, not angry, just polite. Then I saw the video and said, “It works really well with the global situation as well.”
Mike, as a songwriter, has always allowed me to take a song and interpret it through my life perspective, and then it goes to the listener. When you listen to a song, you bring your life perspective, and your interpretation is just as valid as mine is. Mike has always said that he writes from his perspective, and then it’s up to the rest of the world to figure it out. I’ve always admired him for that, and it has always made my job more interesting. I think it’s part of the secret of what we do well together, why we’re a good singer-songwriter team.
What can fans expect from your upcoming performance at the Old Whaling Church?
We do a sort of evening with, so we’ll do two sets. It seems to work for our audience, and it really works for us. The first set is mostly new stuff off the latest record, and the second set will be older stuff, like “Misguided Angel.” Singing that song on stage, I enjoy watching people react to it — cuddling up together, holding hands, and leaning a little closer. For that three or four minutes you’ve given somebody something special. You’ve made them happy, and, in our world, it’s hard to find those moments to offer people. I love that response. I love singing “Sweet Jane” and hearing people say, “I love that song,” even though I’ve sung it so many times.
Cowboy Junkies perform at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown on Thursday, July 19, at 8 pm. “All That Reckoning” will be released July 13.