Liz Bowater
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Liz Bowater

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Last summer at the annual Cornerstone Festival in Bushnell, Illinois, three things happened that made it an especially memorable event. I "experienced" a performance by Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Ray Boltz was gracious enough to make a video tape greeting for my wife (a MAJOR fan!) and I was present when Liz Bowater performed on the impromptu stage. Of the three, hearing Liz was the event I am most grateful not to have missed.
For those of you unfamiliar with the C'Stone fest, the impromptu stage offers a daily "potluck" of performances by bands and artists whose names are drawn at random each morning. You can usually count on several high energy Christian punk bands who have been together almost a month (counting the week at Cornerstone) and almost have their three songs down (which often sound like three versions of the same song. . .God bless 'em!). But from time to time, some amazingly gifted artists show up and treat the audience to something special.
Taking the stage with just an acoustic guitar, a harmonica, a handful of unusually well-crafted songs and . . .oh yeah, a beautiful voice and a peaceful stage presence, Liz silenced the crowd (read as: knocked out, blew away, etc.) until the point she thought her time was up and an encore was enthusiastically demanded . . .and delivered.
Thank God for cheap business cards and clever slogans like "creative, affordable sound recording," because a couple weeks later I received an email from Liz inquiring just how affordable my rates were. Once she had found time to pawn her jewelry and locate a buyer for her Mercedes, Liz and Caroline Evans were at the ranch ready to knock out Liz's debut CD.
The result is a beautiful collection of 13 songs featuring Liz playing guitar and harmonica and delivering the most amazing vocals I have ever had the privilege of recording. Caroline added vocal harmonies that were so perfectly complimentary, I still get chills as I listen and I've been listening now for seven months! I love the whole collection, but I am a little partial to Send Angels, Hymn for the Broken and Before You Go (and of course Reclaiming Reality and eight or nine others).
In addition to being a treat to have in my studio, Liz and Caroline were so much fun to
have in our home that the Humdinger Ranch is now the home of the first official chapter
of the Liz and Caroline Fan Club Intergalactic. (you can be whisked away to Liz's website by clicking on the picture. . .buy her CD!!!)
mjh
- Marc Haney of Plains Label/Dive-In Movie Music (www.marchaney.com)


ยท LIZ BOWATER -- LAST CONFESSION EP

Having recently relocated to the Cincinnati area from Chicago, singer/songwriter Liz Bowater has chosen a good homebase, as her soulful, intimate style shares the same stratosphere in which local acts like Over the Rhine, Kim Taylor and Ellery float. On her recent EP, Last Confession, Bowater delivers five tracks of acoustic-based introspection. She writes candidly and smartly about what many twentysomethings think about -- why am I here, where am I going, how will I get there? The language is simple, but the sentiments are intricate and often spiritual, as Bowater unravels a virtual audio journal, wondering, for example, on "Things Done and Left Undone," "If I could only step outside/Take a picture of the way I appear ... Would you believe it's really me?" But Bowater's magnetic voice and songwriting is what is most grabbing. Bowater sings commandingly with a strong, versatile lilt, rattling off sparklingly sublime melodies with an almost effortless ease, making the overall package seem even more conversational and insular. Her minimal but imaginative acoustic guitar playing is front and center with the vocals for the bulk of the EP, though producer E.D. Englerth sprinkles some light, glistening accoutrements (bass and electric guitar) to the delicate glaze. The unfussy, sparse mix is perfect for Bowater's songs, but, when listening, it's hard not to imagine what she could do with a more fleshed-out approach. Though effective and poignant, Confession sometimes feels more like a sketch; Bowater deserves a full, multi-color palette and a wider canvas. Still, the emotive atmospherics conjured on the EP are remarkably riveting. (Mike Breen) Grade: B+

- City Beat- Cincinnati, OH. 04 January 2006


Discography

September 2005- Last Confession EP
June 2004- June EP
August 2003- Still Here
Spring 2002- Despite the Rain EP

Photos

Bio

Liz Bowater is one of Cincinnati, Ohio's resident songwriters. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Bowater re-located to Cincinnati in the summer of 2005 and is now supported by the songwriters' cooperative Blue Jordan Records, which hosts other local artists such as David Wolfenberger, Janet Pressley and Brandon Dawson.

Bowater describes her music as "brave new folk." Her songs are bold and confessional, offerings made without apology and without pretense. Her voice has been described as "magnetic" and the melodies as "sparklingly sublime." Her voice and words together make the "overall package seem even more conversational and insular. (City Beat, January 2006)."

Throughout the length of her career, Bowater's music has taken on many forms. What began as a solo endeavor is now a collaboration with other Cincinnati musicians. Liz still occasionally appears alone, but is often accompanied by pianist Sharon Udoh of Lines & Spaces.

Her career as a songwriter has produced three EPs and a full-lenth album. After taking a brief hiatus to focus on a new marriage and then a baby boy, Bowater is in the midst of a new recording project. Made possible by a Rivertown Music Club recording grant, the new album will be backed by Udoh and supported by various other Blue Jordan artists.