Monday, June 11, 2007

Voices to Hear

Written by John from Altjiranga Mitjina.

This week’s voice to hear has been singing for over thirty years, but only recently released a solo album. Susan Cowsill has been singing and playing guitar since she was in kindergarten. Her family The Cowsills were the real life inspiration behind the television show The Partridge Family. In the sixties they had hits with the songs "Hair," "The Rain, the Park and Other Things (Flower Girl)," and "We Can Fly." At the tender age of twelve Susan decided to retire from the music business.

Her retirement didn’t last long. Before almost any time she was back performing with acts such as Dwight Twilley, Hootie and the Blowfish and other musicians. She still was singing in the background, not taking the forefront yet. In the 90’s her musical family reunited for a new album and tour.

Living in L.A. she met Vicki Peterson, formerly of the Bangles and the two formed a power pop duo called the Psycho Sisters. The basis of this musical act became a life long friendship and years later they became sister-in-laws when Vicki married one of Susan’s brothers.

While performing in L.A. the two met some other musicians that were forming a new group called the Continental Drifters. One of the members of this group was Peter Holsapple, formerly from the critical acclaimed group the dBs. Peter and Susan ended up marrying and having a child together. The group slowly found its way to New Orleans until all the members were living in the Big Easy.

For ten years the Continental Drifters put out five albums of quite simply wonderful glorious music. The group has multiple singer/songwriters so every album is a mixture of songs from the different members. Unfortunately great music doesn’t always equal great sales and finally after a decade the group and marriage of Susan and Peter go their separate ways.

Finally Susan is ready to release a solo album. Just Believe It comes out and is proof that Susan is just a talented lead as she is part of a band. Susan’s songs are Pop music mixed with some of the Louisiana flavor and a sprinkle of country and rock. “I Know You Know” is one of those songs that just makes you want to sing along. Instead of the…I’ll be nice and not say what I think of a lot of the current “musical hits,” this song should have been a hit.

After Katrina every other artist from New Orleans had a “Katrina song.” Susan was no exception except I think she had one of the best, if not the best of the bunch. Her song was called “Crescent City Snow” and it incorporated so many elements from New Orleans in it.

I’ve seen Susan live multiple times. She always puts on a fun show. She loves to talk to the audience and have fun with them. I’ve seen her open for the Bangles, play Jazz Fest, open for Better Than Ezra, headline her own show. Every month at Carrolton Station in downtown New Orleans she does a Covered in Vinyl show, where she recreates a classic album in its entirety. She’s done songs from Fleetwood Mac, U2, Led Zepplin, Joni Mitchell, Mamas and Papas, Jimi Hendrix, Beatles and many others.

In addition to her solo album she has released an album of live outtakes from different Covered In Vinyl shows and has two live albums from her appearance at Jazz Fest available. Also check out her albums with the Continental Drifters and her family The Cowsills. For someone with just one album out officially she has a lot of music out there to sample.


Surviving Motherhood said...

Thanks John. Once again you have done us proud :)

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