Susan Cowsill
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Susan Cowsill


Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music



“Just Believe It…is the hardy, heartbreaking sound of a woman in the prime of her singing and songwriting life. “Palm of My Hand” and “Nanny’s Song”, a duet with Lucinda Williams, echo… healing melancholy and Cajun jangle…Cowsill also turns her inner Joan Jett loose, punching through “I Know You Know” and “Talkin’” like an avenging bar-band angel. The sole cover is a bayou-blues stroll through Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”, an apt reflection on the good things that come to those who don’t live by the clock.” - David Fricke


“Just Believe It is a rich and mature album that blends rock, pop, folk and alt-country influences into a coherent and compelling whole that provides a perfect backdrop for Susan’s songs. Susan wrote or co-wrote all fourteen songs (except for a lovely cover of Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”) and they manage to combine the freshness of a lyrical voice that’s still revealing itself to the listener with the life experience of someone who can write honestly about love, death, parenthood, divorce and the multitude of blessings and tragedies that go along with spending a few decades on this globe. Cowsill has stories to tell and she tells them with a skill and vigor that never lets artifice get in the way of cutting to the emotional truth of her subjects. Quite simply, debut albums are rarely as moving, as revealing or as accomplished as Just Believe It, and while it may have taken Susan Cowsill nearly thirty-five years to get to this point in her career, the results are more than worth it--this is masterful music from a major talent.” - October 2005 - Mark Deming


Having devoted decades of ensemble vocal work to groups ranging from 60’s teen rockers The Cowsills to desert-rock shamanists Giant Sand plus underappreciated roots gems with the Continental Drifters,Susan Cowsill's career is a testament to persistence. On this, her solo debut, Lucinda Williams pitches in, but Cowsill hardly needs the help. From the chiming guitars of "Palm of My Hand" to a celestial "Who Knows Where the Time Goes", it belatedly opens the book on a singer-songwriter of considerable range and breadth. – UNCUT, February 2006
- Incandescent Folk/Pop


from "Feeling the Warmth a the South by Southwest Music Festival"

“Trooper that she is, Susan Cowsill came to Austin (for SXSW) as she always does. And on the festival’s final night she performed her set including the title track from a new CD—an up-tempo, life-affirming country pop tune entitled “Just Believe It”. “You can’t stop sun and you can’t stop trees”, went one verse. “You can’t stop hurricanes and you can’t stop me…” Susan Cowsill was smiling as she sang those words—and her brave, true-believer smile said it all.” -March 2006 - Billy Altman


"It says a great deal for Susan Cowsill that only one of 14 tracks on her solo debut wasn't written by her.”Who Knows Where the Time Goes" is a watermark of the folk-rock world, a hauntingly beautiful song of inner strength penned by English folkie Sandy Denny in the late Sixties. In Cowsill's sweet, strong hand, it's a song of liberation as relevant now as 30 years ago when it was recorded by Denny and Judy Collins. That was about the time Cowsill retired from stardom for the first time at age 12. As the adorable little sister of Sixties popsters The Cowsills, she re-emerged with Dwight Twilley in the Eighties, then The Continental Drifters in the Nineties. Just Believe It deftly captures her …lifelong pop sensibilities and indie-rock heart. It's an understated debut with grace and bite, which makes it easy to love "Nanny's Song" (with Lucinda Williams), yet smirk with Cowsill lashing out at an ex-lover on "Talkin'." "Palm of My Hand" has radio scribbled all over it, but "I Know You Know" is pure exuberant rock & roll. So, Susan, what took you so long?” - Margaret Moser


“The little girl who starred with her 60s family band…has grown into an adult with star quality. Cowsill …with a deeply assured musical presence…earned her title as bandleader/band name. Her wistful yet robust reading of Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” set the more familiar Judy Collins version adrift in the breeze.

The more delicate of her own compositions, including “Peaceful Wakings” built into sophisticated power ballads. Ultimately she proved herself a rocker at heart--- with...the ebullient "Rain Song",
"Someday" “Talkin’” and “I Know You Know”.

- Pamela Murray-Winters


“Cowsill’s ‘Snow’ similarly mines a childlike vulnerability, as she employs her achingly tarnished voice to a simple and moving effect.

The dirge-like ‘Cousin’ and the serene lullaby ‘Peaceful Waking’ showcase the angelic vulnerability
in Susan Cowsill's voice." - Staff Review


"…her first CD under her own name, Just Believe It, resonates with warmth, common purpose and sense of musical community." - Keith Spera


“(Cowsill's) Rain Song (which would be a hit if the drab wasteland that is radio played anything this good)…tapped into great rock ‘n’ roll, achieving a wonderful balance between rootsy authenticity and pop hooks that proves to be highly addictive.” - - Eric Fidler



This year's South by Southwest music convention (SXSW) featured a cornucopia of high profile New Orleans acts, but one of the most moving Louisiana showcases came from the Susan Cowsill band...promoting first album JUST BELIEVE IT.
Cowsill's set was a bravura performance that proved this late-blooming star has finally come into her own.
Like so many other New Orleans residents, Cowsill suffered through bitter tragedy in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She lost more than her home and possessions, though. Her brother Barry died in the chaos that followed the massive failure of the levees and the calamitous incompetence of official response. On the day of his wake in Rhode Island, she received news that her brother Billy had passed away.
Cowsill has played SXSW before and the difference was remarkable. In the past, there was a fragility to her stage presence, as if she didn't fully realize that she could break your heart or make you smile just by opening her mouth.
"I was pretty tentative," she says. "I had to convince myself that I was comfortable being a front guy. I am comfortable with it now, and certainly music being such a healing activity, I think I was in need of some healing and had a perfect place at the show to vent that."
Her voice is one of those luminous instruments that a small handful of people possess, a unique combination of physical characteristics, mental discipline and a passion that wells up from some hidden recess of human emotion. Her sound has been shaped by a lifetime of input from older family members. She wasn't even a teenager when she and her siblings reached the height of mass popularity in the late 1960s with their family band, The Cowsills, singing extraordinary arrangements that characterized hit singles "The Rain, The Park
and Other Things", "Indian Lake" and "Hair".
It was a context that turned Cowsill into a collaborative genius. She teamed up with Vicki Peterson (The Bangles) as The Psycho Sisters, writing songs and working out a distinct harmony style. The pair relocated from California to New Orleans in the early 1990s to form the greatest version of the chameleon-like band The Continental Drifters. By 1999, the Drifters, with Peter Holsapple and Robert Mache on guitars, Mark Walton on bass and Russ Broussard on drums, were among the most popular bands in New Orleans with a classic album, Vermilion, to their credit.
Cowsill and Holsapple were married but eventually divorced...and the internecine creative and emotional battles the band went through earned them the nickname of the Fleetwood Mac of New Orleans.
Cowsill's voice was a magic part of the mix, especially in the group's latter days, her haunting compositions emerged as some of the band's best work.
The Drifters split into a number of different parts. Cowsill and Broussard married and Susan took a giant step toward forming her own group.
"It was the next thing that was going to happen," she reasons. "Russ and I quit the Drifters and took two years to work on Bourbon Street, doing cover songs which was sun and very educational for me because I was asked to front this Cajun rock band and I'd never fronted a band, so I thought what a great opportunity to do this sort of incognito. It was a wonderful learning place, fun and more money than I ever made since I was little. After a couple of years, it definitely did wear thin and I knew what I had to do.
I thought "Oh God, not this." I'd been avoiding a solo career since I was 18."
Once she took the plunge, Cowsill found herself suddenly empowered as a bandleader and she's made the most of it.
"I've been in a band since I was seven," she explains. "I was in my big brothers' band. That's got its own little pat on the head in it by its very nature. I was in the Drifters when I was the fledgling writer and musician, pat, pat again.
The Drifters were incredibly instrumental in my growth as a songwriter and as a musician. I didn't play or write much when I met them. Your journey is the story and without the journey, there's no story."
Cowsill's journey has been marked by the extreme joy and pain that she has fashioned into the milestones of her songs.
"I'm convinced that I have almost nothing to do with my own writing, " she says. "It's primarily channeling something that'a part of me, but what comes out amazes me. It's like opening up a secret door that only I have the key to. But it's not open all the time and I think that kind of deep thinking 24/7 would drive you mad. It's a muse."
- John Swenson,


Can be heard online at and
US release 10/11/05 on Blue Corn Music
Singles currently receiving airplay: Palm of My Hand, Just Believe It, I Know You Know, Nanny's Song, Who Knows Where the Time Goes.
Bonus Single: Crescent City Snow (The Hurricane Katrina Song)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Just Believe It is Susan Cowsill's first-ever solo album, but you probably already know her.

The singer/songwriter made her initial mark on popular culture at the tender age of eight with The Cowsills, the 60s family pop group that not only scored Top Ten singles The Rain, the Park and Other Things, Hair and We Can Fly but also served as the real-life inspiration for TV's fictional Partridge Family. During Susan’s decade with roots-pop supergroup The Continental Drifters, she won the hearts of discerning listeners with her impassioned vocals and personally-charged songwriting, gracing three widely-acclaimed albums and a decade’s worth of riveting performances. Cowsill's vocal talents have beautifully supported recordings from artists as diverse as Dwight Twilley, Redd Kross, The Smithereens, Giant Sand, Nanci Griffith, Carlene Carter and Jules Shear, while her compositions have been covered by The Bangles and Hootie and the Blowfish.

Cowsill's much-loved prior work can now be viewed as a prelude to the stunning solo achievement of Just Believe It. The collection marks a musical and personal milestone for the artist, embodying the same qualities of musical craft and emotional nuance that distinguished her work with The Continental Drifters, while adding a deeper, more resonant and unmistakably personal edge. The CD features guest appearances
by Lucinda Williams on the hauntingly bittersweet "Nanny's Song"; Counting Crows front man Adam Duritz, harmonizing with Cowsill on the upbeat "Palm of My Hand," (also featuring Cowsill's former Drifters bandmate and real-life sister-in-law, Bangle Vicki Peterson). Along with 13 new Cowsill originals, Just Believe It includes a stunning cover of Sandy Denny/Fairport Convention classic "Who Knows Where the Time Goes". The entire CD maintains a solid grounding in the organic honesty of rural folk and the catchy melodicism of '60s pop, while dipping into the fluid R&B grooves of Cowsill's longtime hometown of New Orleans.

This summer Cowsill embarks on her most extensive solo tour to date. Her road-toughened summer combo, including Russ Broussard (Continental Drifters) on drums, Tad Armstrong on bass guitar/vocals and ace guitarist Aaron Stroup (the latter two formerly of Indianapolis-based band Middletown), merges a seamless rock sensibility with an organic sensitivity that echoes the singer’s own. Susan’s core bandmates, guitarist/vocalist Chris Knotts (Uptown Plowboys and Flatware) and former Continental Drifter Ray Ganucheau (guitar/vocals) are on summer hiatus.

Hurricane Katrina posed unexpected challenges to New Orleans musicians, including Susan Cowsill. After losing her home and possessions when Katrina destroyed her city, Susan later learned that her beloved brother Barry had lost his life in the storm’s aftermath. Susan’s commitment to New Orleans remains passionate and steadfast, which is evident in her powerful Hurricane Katrina song, Crescent City Snow. According to respected sources in the music industry, this song just may go down in musical history as the most poignant to come out of the catastrophe. Susan does all she can to help maintain national awareness of conditions in New Orleans. She is proud to perform alongside her fellow musicians for the benefit of New Orleans and has contributed her songs to relief effort compilation CDs. Susan Cowsill’s humanitarian efforts also include working against child abuse and actively supporting peaceful causes.

Whether she's delivering a heart-tugging ballad or belting out a punchy rock tune, critics agree that Susan Cowsill has an exceptional talent for connecting with a song's emotional core. Rolling Stone praised Just Believe It as “The hardy, heartbreaking sound of…a bar-band angel…in the prime of her singing and songwriting life.” The Washington Post proclaimed "As good as Cowsill’s voice is, her smart, emotional songwriting is her biggest asset.” All Music Guide raved "Cowsill has stories to tell and she tells them with a skill and vigor that never lets artifice get in the way of cutting to the emotional truth… Quite simply, debut albums are rarely as moving, as revealing or as accomplished as Just Believe It. This is masterful music from a major talent."
Updated 6.26.06