What made the Cowboy Junkies decide to play so quietly? What made them decide to play so slowly?

Nobody planned it that way, says the group's musical leader, Michael Timmons. It just happened."The music is something very special, which we're trying to capture," he says with a laugh. "We just let it develop and followed it, really. It sort of has a life of its own."

If the band's overall style was a gift from the Muse, the individual song choices on their recent album, "The Trinity Session," were carefully thought out.

Take the covers of tunes by past and present country music greats: the Carter Family, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Waylon Jennings.

"We picked them to complement our own songs, really, to show where we were coming from," says Timmons. " `The Trinity Session,' to us, was our country-inspired album. So the covers we chose were sort of classic songs or songs from classic eras."

That kind of conceptual thinking extended to the Canadian band's original songs as well.

"The songs we wrote are sort of our own versions of classical country themes. So you have `Misguided Angel,' which is the good girl-bad boy thing; you have `To Love Is to Bury,' which is love and death, and `200 Miles,' which is a road song."

Interestingly, the song that's gotten the most attention is not a country song at all, but Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane" - slowed up and hushed up, of course. Reed said he loves the Cowboy Junkies' version.

Cowboy Junkies, to digress a bit, is a family affair. There are three Timmonses in the group: Michael, 30, guitarist and principal songwriter; Margo, 28, lead singer; and Peter, 23, drummer. Bassist Alan Anton completes the lineup. Yet a fourth Timmons sibling named John played guitar on "Trinity Session," although he's not a full-time member.

The Timmons family - six siblings, a father who sold airplanes and a mother who was a nurse - grew up in Montreal. They moved to Toronto in 1976.

Michael Timmons and Alan Anton have been playing together professionally for 10 years. After their group, the Hunger Project, had musical stints in New York and London, Timmons returned to Toronto roughly three years ago.

Michael and his older brother John started jamming in Peter's garage. Peter, a novice, decided to take up the drums. Anton showed up one day, and Margo - who holds a degree in social work but was working as a part-time secretary - joined in.

"There was never really a conscious thought of putting a band together of family," Timmons says. "It's just they happened to be the most convenient people."

"The Trinity Session" was recorded live-to-digital in a church in Toronto in one 14-hour session.

Only one microphone, called a sound-field mike, was used. The band had to set up around it in a 10-foot circle.

"It's a special microphone made for ambient recordings, which our producer Peter Moore wanted to try with a rock band. It's used mainly for classical recordings. And we went into the church with it, because the church had a really nice acoustical feel. It was an experiment, really."

"The songs we wrote are sort of our own version of classical country themes. So you have 'Misguided Angel,' which is the good girl-bad boy thing; you have 'To Love Is to Bury 'which is a road song."

Interestingly, the song that's gotten the most attention is not a country song at all,-slowed up and hushed up, of course. Reed said he loves the 'Cowboy Junkies' version.

Cowboy Junkies, to digress a bit, is a family affair. there are three Timonses in the group: Michael, 30, guitarist and principal songwriter; Margo, 28, lead singer; and Peter, 23, drummer. Bassits Alan Anton completes the lineup. Yet a fourth Timmons sibling named John played guitar on "Trinity Session," although he's not a full-time member.

The Timmons family-six siblings, a father who sold airplanes and a mother who was a nurse-grew up in Montreal. They moved to Toronto in 1976.

Michael Timmons and Alan Anton have been playing together professionally for 10 years. After their