The Cowsills In Magazines

Susan Cowsill’s New Album Lighthouse Finds Light At The End of The Tunnel
April / May 2010
American Gazette Magazine

Special guests include Jackson Browne, The Cowsills (Bob, Paul and John), Vicki Peterson (Bangles/continental Drifters) and session ace Waddy Watchtel.

Lighthouse, Susan Cowsill’s second solo album, once again embodies the timeless qualities of heart, soul, and craft that are already know to anyone familiar with Cowsill’s solo debut Just Believe It. The new album is slated for May 18, 2010 release on Threadhead Records.

Susan first entered the pop-culture spotlight at the age of eight, as the youngest member of the ‘60s musical family the Cowsills. In adulthood, as a member of the beloved alt-pop supergroup the Continental Drifters, she reemerged as a vocalist and songwriter of remarkable depth and insight. In 2005, Susan made an inspired solo debut with Just Believe It. But the album’s creative triumph was overshadowed by the intrusion of real-life events – namely the deaths of Susan’s brothers Billy and Barry, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which temporarily displaced Susan and her family from her adopted hometown of New Orleans.

“Lighthouse was written over the last four years during our recovery from Hurricane Katrina,” she says. “As you might guess, the songs on this record are pulled from the very deep well of this most life changing experience. Having lost 99.9% of our material and emotional belongings, and one whole human being, my brother Barry Cowsill, there was much to say and feel and express. It has taken all this time to pull ourselves back together to even be able to form comprehensible sentences never mind full on songs.”

The tribulations of the past few years resonate throughout Lighthouse. Cowsill’s new songs reflect the hard-won lessons of her recent experiences, while maintaining the unmistakable sense of optimism and spirituality that’s always been at the heart of her work. That indomitable spirit is reflected in the infectious grit of such emotionally vivid originals as “ONOLA,” “Sweet Bitter End,” “The Way That It Goes” and “Avenue of the Indians,” which features guest vocals by longtime friend and admirer Jackson Browne.

In addition to Susan’s own compositions, Lighthouse includes an impassioned reading of the late Barry Cowsill’s “Reading of Love,” which features soaring harmonies by Susan’s brothers Bob, Paul and John Cowsill, as well as sister-in-law (and Bangles/Continental Drifters member) Vicki Peterson and renowned session guitarist Waddy Wachtel, who began his career playing with the Cowsills in the 1960s. Another highlight is a distinctive, stripped-down reworking of the Glen Campbell/Jimmy Webb classic “Galveston,” which demonstrates Susan’s status as a peerless interpretive singer.

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