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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Five Years (Cover)’ By Cowboy Junkies

The Cowboy Junkies are a Canadian alt-country band, who released their first album back in 1986. They are most known for their 1988 album “The Trinity Session,” which featured their cover of The
Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane.”

The lo-fi classic album was recorded in a church for under $250, and it ended up selling over a million copies.

While the Cowboy Junkies aren’t necessarily a political band, they have delved into socially conscious material on several occasions. For example, in 2005 they released the anti-war protest album “21st Century Blues,” which features mostly covers, along with a couple of originals. Their 2018 album All That Reckoning” also explored political themes.

The band recently released their version of David Bowie’s “Five Years,” which appears on their
upcoming covers album “Songs of the Recollection.” It is due out on March 25.

Bowie’s version appeared on his 1972 album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from
Mars.” The song depicts an impending apocalyptic disaster that will destroy the earth within five years.
For example, the lyric, “News guy wept and told us. Earth was really dying,” may be even more relevant today.

The Cowboy Junkies produced a video, complete with visuals that contemplate the band’s mournful rendering.

Earth may not literally have five years left, but their rendition is a reminder that if climate change and other social ills continue to go unchecked, time will eventually run out.

CJ Baker

CJ Baker

CJ Baker is a lifelong music fan and published writer. He recently started a website chronicling the historical developments of protest music:, and can be found on Twitter @tunesofprotest