Born in August of 1952 in Evansville, Indiana, American soul and progressive bluegrass singer John Cowan has been named a favorite vocalist of his peers. He was the lead vocalist and the bass player for the band the New Grass Revival, the only member that did not come from a bluegrass background.
After leaving New Grass Revival, he moved on to release a soul record of covers, “Soul’d Out” in 1990. He also appeared in a duo with Sam Bush on PBS’ Lonesome Pine Special in 1992, and later with other artists. From 1988 to 1996, he joined forces with Rusty Young of Poco, Bill Lloyd of Foster & Lloyd and Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers in the band Four Wheel Drive, which was later renamed to The Sky Kings. Through his connection with Simmons, he also was able to land a gig as a bass player for the Doobie Brothers for two years in 1993. His song “Can’t Stand to Lose” was co-written with Rusty Young, was featured on the Doobies’ album Sibling Rivalry in 2000.
Cowan, throughout the 90s, worked with artists like Travis Tritt, Steve Earle, Garth Brooks and Wynonna. He has also worked with artists like The Grateful Dead, Rosanne Cash, Darius Rucker, Hootie & the Blowfish, Alison Krauss, Lyle Lovett and many more.
His newest album, The Massenburg Sessions, brings back the sounds style of recording from the 40s and 50s. Cowan has spent much of his career attempting to re-create the “fertile” environment of a live performance using acoustic music and live performances. His new album uses these techniques to create a “fertile” environment out of a “sterile” one.
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