It was a simple matter for Susan Cowsill and her band to make the transition from the dinner table to the stage for their performance at this cozy restaurant and bar, which sits in the shadow of the U.S. Customs House just off Charleson’s historic market. The Vintage had cleared all but one table out of its bar area to accommodate a standing-room audience. Shortly before show time, Cowsill, her husband and drummer Russ Broussard, guitarist Chris Knotts and bassist Rob Savoy enjoyed a candlelit meal in a corner at the lone remaining table.
After more than 30 years of lending her voice to the likes of the Cowsills, Dwight Twilley, and the Continental Drifters, Cowsill has finally recorded her first proper solo album. The band dove straight into tracks from Just Believe It, which is currently only available in Europe and at Cowsill’s website (www.susancowsill.com). “Palm Of My Hand”, “Nanny’s Song” and the title track translated well from studio to live setting. Especially satisfying among Cowsill’s originals were “Christmas Time”, with its ultra-catchy melody, and “Talkin’”, a warning against trash talking that was no doubt inspired by Cowsill’s pal Lucinda Williams (who appears on Just Believe It, along with Adam Duritz).
Cowsill wasn’t afraid to share the spotlight. Knotts showcased a couple of his own songs, during which Cowsill switched between washboard and drums, and Savoy also played two originals.
Then there were the covers. The band busted out Gillian Welch’s “Annabelle” and did justice to Lucinda Williams’ “Crescent City” and “Drunken Angel”. Sensing the audience wouldn’t let them out of the joint without a couple of Continental Drifters tunes, Cowsill and her boys turned in lovely versions of “Snow”, “Someday” and “Spring Day In Ohio” before closing with “The Rain Song”.