12 songs among the great Cowboys Fringants

In a 25-year career, Les Cowboys Fringants have built a rich repertoire of more than 150 songs, some of which have practically become essential anthems for a generation of Quebecers. Here is a constellation of a dozen of these pieces representative of the group’s universe.

The manifestation

“At the demonstration / it’s true that we haven’t changed anything.” With the fun, but no less cynical The manifestationThe Cowboys Fringants ironically created a to hit taken… in the demonstrations. Real short film in song, published on Union break (2002), is anchored in an era notably marked by the Summit of the Americas. In a recent interview with dutyits lyricist, Jean-François Pauzé, believed that this song had been “turned into an ironic wink” by fans.

At half-mast

“If this is modern Quebec, well, I’ll fly my flag at half-mast.” This room, which opens Union break, blew on the embers of disillusionment regarding the future of a mismanaged and unambitious Quebec. With the watermark of disappointed longings for independence. Musically, it is perhaps the densest and most frenetic – even military – of the repertoire.

On my shoulder

“Lay your head on my shoulder / Let my love rub you.” The room that closes The Antipodes (2019) has become the anthem of Cowboys fans in honor of Karl Tremblay, who “dealt with the winter wind.” The song was one of the highlights of the group’s last show in Quebec, at the Plains. Breath of hope with wet eyes.

My boyfriend Rémi

“Heille Rémi, don’t do anything stupid / I love you and you still owe me $50.” Soft waltz where the violin and a delicate xylophone shine, My boyfriend Rémi it talks about suicide and also the importance of friendship, a frequent theme for the group in its early years. Everything happens outside the bars, another recurring world in Les Cowboys Fringants.

shooting stars

“We say that the good times finally pass / like a shooting star”. It is perhaps the signature song of Too high, the group’s seminal album. Carried by the most recognized accordion line in the Cowboys catalog, the piece delves into nostalgia – that of Passe-Partout, even – and the effects of life that inexorably passes.


“In my suburbs, the night is beautiful and there is hope.” The group has often set their stories outside the inner-city neighborhoods, in the affluent suburbs (All houses are the same) or modest. Taken from Motel Capri (2001), this piece full of cultural references and marked by drama makes the heart explode with emotion.

Marcel Galarneau

“Oh Marcel Galarneau! / How are your old bones in your Bordeaux cell? » It’s one of the early songs, where the singer Karl Tremblay rolls his “r’s”. Browse through the story – crazy here – of a character, a trick that is reviewed very often among the group (Loulou Lapierre, The CatherineHector, Maurice at the bistroetc.)

8 seconds

“Every 8 seconds / I feel a little more embarrassed.” The training unfolds a little more widely the allegations of what goes wrong and leads to famine, water mismanagement and war. All with a lively klezmer tune, but in a minor key. He has, among others, brothers and sisters The company boy I Of a sadness

A short tour

“Come for a little tour of my apartment, Frette.” The themes of the small misery of those who begin their adult life and love – the one-night stand with the hope of something more – come together. The verses of this piece that ends Motel Capri are carried by a guitar line a la welcome alone, by Jim and Bertrand. Perhaps the most beautiful of his refined songs.


“Now I’m the last human on Earth.” Nothing takes the note of the repercussions of human presence on the planet even further, with Les Cowboys Fringants here imagining the end of the world caused by climate change. Heat waves and pandemics were already on the menu for this 2004 song.

Autumn song

Anyways I’m glad you’re back / You arrive at the same time as autumn. This “melody” is one of the pieces of the group that has an incredible capacity for communion. Family is the focus of the lyrics and the guitar is slow, making it one of the most popular campfire songs.

America cries

“I see all of America crying / in my rearview mirror.” This is a test of the strength of the Cowboys Fringants: do a to hit, perhaps the greatest, after almost 25 years of career. The piece features a truck driver, totally consistent with the group’s non-elitist worldview. This may be the song that unites them all.

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