Meaning of “Cowboy Junkie” by Tim McGraw

Interestingly, it isn’t the singer who’s touting himself as the titular “cowboy junkie”. Rather, that is a designation he gives to the addressee, stating that “she’ll always be (his) cowboy junkie”. And yes, said individual is the vocalist’s sweetheart.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Tim McGraw's Cowboy Junkie at

It is not specified what the term “cowboy junkie” is supposed to mean, but apparently it has been a part of the southern lexicon for some time. For instance, there is a band (from Canada by the way) called Cowboy Junkies who have been around since the 1980s. And it is a term that some people, such as Tim McGraw, have used outside of the context of said group.

We all know what a cowboy is, i.e. a rugged outbacker, the types of which you would ideally find around the southwestern United States. As for the term “junkie”, most simply put it is another word for an addict. 

So it appears that what Tim is getting at is himself being a “cowboy”, and the addressee is a “cowboy junkie” in that she is addicted to his love, so to speak. And with that established, this track as a whole serves as a love song, one in which the vocalist uses the opportunity to celebrate the meaningful romance he has with his honeybun.

“She’ll always be my cowboy junkie
That one woman that’ll always love me
She holds me and all my scars
Fall asleep here in the dark
Pull the gate and hold on tight
Underneath them rhinestonе lights
She thanks God I’m still alive
Wipes thе tear from her eye”

This track is from Tim McGraw’s full-length album “Standing Room Only”, which is a product of Big Machine Records, with a release date of 25 August 2023. 

McGraw did not have a hand in writing most of the songs on this project.  And in the case of this track, the authors are Justin Weaver, Lance Miller and Bill Luther. Tim however co-produced the album – including “Cowboy Junkie” – and in that regard endeavored alongside Byron Gallimore.

Cowboy Junkie

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