What to Do Tonight: Cowboy Junkies

It’s been more than 20 years since U.S. audiences were introduced to Cowboy Junkies’ hushed folk-rock. Formed in Toronto in the mid ’80s by the Timmins siblings (guitarist Michael, drummer Peter and singer Margo) and their bass-playing friend Alan Anton, the Junkies self-released their 1986 debut, Whites Off Earth Now! The buzz surrounding the band’s languid Velvet Underground-flecked country-blues sound, paired with Margo’s sultry, sanguine vocals, attracted major record companies. In 1988, they recorded a set of covers and originals in one 14-hour session using a single microphone in a local church. The band’s cover choices (the Velvets’ “Sweet Jane,” Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight,” an eerie reading of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”) on The Trinity Sessions showcased the group’s diverse influences. The album’s success led to widespread touring and a lasting career. For the past two and a half decades, the Cowboy Junkies have astonished fans with a sound that veers from reverent quiet to defiant squall, but delivers equal intensity between these two extremes. They play PlayhouseSquare's Ohio Theatre (1501 Euclid Ave., 216.241.6000) at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets: $10-$35. — Brian Baker