The Cowsills In Books

MusicHound Country: The Essential Album Guide
by Brian Mansfield, Gary Graff
Visible Ink 1997


Blue Shadows

Formed 1990 in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada Disbanded 1995.

Billy Cowsill, vocals, rhythm guitar; Jeffrey Hatcher, vocals, lead guitar; Barry Mulr, vocals, bass; J.B. Johnson, drums.

After a decade spent recovering from his stint as a leader of America’s self-proclaimed “First Family of Song,” the Cowsills, big brother Bill found himself in Vancouver where, during 1979, he formed Canada’s legendary Blue Northern band. Unfortunately, Blue Northern was so ahead of its time in what had not yet become the “new country” genre that its only record slipped through the cracks without a trace. The experience dispirited Cowsill so deeply that he was about to seek refuge in Nashville’ Songwriters Row. What stopped him was Manitoba- native Jeffrey Hatcher, veteran of several renowned Canadian bands (Fuse, Jeffrey Hatcher & the Big Beat) and a highly regarded "walking pop and country songbook." Providing the perfect foil to Cowsill's somewhat gruffer world-weariness, the duo immediately began writing and performing together, forming Blue Shadows soon afterward. As raucous and exuberant on stage as they were defiantly radio-ready on record, the band was poised to tackle the U.S. market head-on when, falling victim to the deadly Canadian Curse (too much roadwork/too little industry support), the group disbanded on Christmas Day 1995. Cowsill, however, continues to be active with behind the scenes work in his adopted country, most recently recording with Canadian folk hero Murray McLaughlin.

What’s available: Their Juno (Canadian Grammy equivalent)- nominated debut, On The Floor Of Heaven (Sony Music Canada, 1993, prod. Jeffrey Hatcher, Billy Cowsill), has been perfectly described as "Hank Williams goes to the Cavern Club," and the follow-up, Lucky to Me (Sony Music Canada, 1995, prod. Jeffrey Hatcher, Billy Cowsill), soundly expands on this innovative yet hummable Beatles-invade-Bradley's-Barn ethos.

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