The Cowsills In Magazines

As Mardi Gras Rages, New Orleans' Music Scene Struggles to Recover
by Alex Rayls
February 2009
Rolling Stone Magazine

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According to Hirsch, “the reduced size of the audience is the biggest issue we’re facing.” That’s affecting everybody, not just jazz musicians. Susan Cowsill of the family band the Cowsills has established a career as a roots-rock artist in New Orleans, but she has had to tour more than ever before to make ends meet, which is tough for someone raising two kids. “We play out of town for the majority of our income,” Cowsill says. “Right after the storm, things were going pretty well. People were so happy to be back and out and to see each other again, but that has waned. I don’t see people coming out to see local music these days. I couldn’t make a living playing here alone. Before the storm, it was a place where you could conceivably get three gigs in a month and do fairly well financially.”

She has been trying to put money together to record a follow-up album to her solo debut, Just Believe It, but as a renter, most of her income goes to basic living expenses. Fortunately, she has connected to Threadhead Records, an organization of New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival fans from around the country who met online in the festival’s forums. Threadhead loans musicians money to record, and is responsible for three albums last year and six that are scheduled for 2009. She has finished basic tracking for a second album, which Cowsill hopes to release later this summer. This weekend, though, she is singing on a rolling bandstand in Mardi Gras parades with the all-woman punk rock band, Pink Slip. Rose Royce never imagined their version of “Car Wash.”

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