Susan Cowsill
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Susan Cowsill


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"Rolling Stone Review"

"Long before there were teen divas, there was, in the late Sixties, Susan Cowsill:the junior chirping sister in the pop-psych family band the Cowsills, who resurfaced in the Nineties with Louisiana's alt-country answer to vintage Fairport Convention, the Continental Drifters. Just Believe It is Cowsill's first solo album, and 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 the healing melancholy and Cajun jangle of the Drifters. 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

- Rolling Stone

"OpEd News"

Believe in Susan Cowsill's "Just Believe It"
By Georgianne Nienaber

Susan Cowsill is perched on the front stoop of her home in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans on the west bank of the Mississippi, doing an interview about the wallop hurricane Katrina delivered to her family as well as the local music community. The conversation drifts to the iconic Summer of Love and when, exactly, she joined the Cowsills. Yeah, THAT Susan Cowsill.

Susan recounts the discography: The Rain, the Park and Other Things, We Can Fly, Indian Lake, Hair, and you can almost hear the refrain drifting on the salty autumn air.

"Flowers in her hair. Flowers everywhere. Was she a reality, or just a dream to me?"

Only seven, she joined the band two months after The Rain, the Park and Other Things forever defined the summer of an entire generation. It's a writer's dream to be given the opportunity to recount an artist's telling of the beginnings of her career and the soundtrack of an era. But, there is another story surfacing that has been lost. It's the story of too many artists who are bought and sold down the river by record companies, deep pockets, pressure to perform no matter what, and artistry that is either ignored or subject to the whimsy of news arcs.

In 2004, New Orleans resident Susan Cowsill released her first effort as a solo artist on Euro Solo as part of a European distribution deal. It wasn't until October of 2005 that Just Believe It was available for distribution in the United States. Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, All Music Guide and others raved about the writing, the musicianship, the vocals, the arrangements and the "emotional truth" of the compilation.

Rolling Stone claimed Just Believe It offered "the hardy, heartbreaking sound of a bar band angel." The Washington Post shouted, "As good as Cowsill's voice is, her smart emotional songwriting is her biggest asset."

And the CD tanked. So what happened?

The soundtrack of Katrina happened and dominated all things media. How does a musical artist compete with Katrina?

Susan recalled being a virtual refugee in October 2005 when promoters called her with the good news of the CD release in the United States and expected her to tour. Her enthusiasm for the project became an elusive muse. In October of 2005, Susan Cowsill's beloved brother Barry went missing, ultimately a victim of Katrina. Her life was consumed with scouring phone text messages for clues as to Barry's whereabouts. Her kids hoped to go home to the orange juice left sitting on the kitchen table of a home that wasn't a home anymore and just wanted to get their cat back.

The reality is that CDs don't sell without grueling touring and media attention driven by the pockets of the promoters. No tour equals no promotion. There was no way Cowsill could tour and promote what is most likely the best work of her life—a project that took two years to complete, untold financial risks, and would not exist without the love and support of the couple of hundred friends who are listed on the CD's cover insert.

So, is Just Believe It that good?

Go buy it now. Buy it if you remember the Summer of Love and even if you don't, or are too young, you will not be disappointed.

Listen right on through and the music will tell you a beautiful story. Or, listen through once and find yourself hitting replay again and again on Track 7, Nanny's Song, while a mournful cello and the angelic voice of Lucinda Williams provide powerful support to Susan Cowsill's strong, seasoned voice--the soaring voices of women covering a beautiful, prophetic lyric.

"I was born with a broken heart; it's not a pretty way to start. But, I don't want to leave this earth; I don't want to let it go. It's real life that sets you free."

If that isn't good enough, the ghost bonus tracks are worth the patience. We won't give it away, but there is a hidden iconic track that will absolutely carry you away and should be released by some record executive with any sense and who wants a mega hit right now.

This CD is can't be defined by the straight jacket known as "genre."

Just Believe It is part country, rock, pop, and a touch of folk that shows Susan Cowsil'?s writing chops as well. She wrote or co-wrote everything (not the "secret" ghost track) except the old Sandy Denny folk classic, Who Knows where the Time Goes, and the singing here blows the Judy Collins' version out of the water. The rocker comes out in Talkin' when the vocal puts it to an ex-lover: "The last thing I need at the end of my day is to hear about you talkin' s*** around town."

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 35 years to get to this point in her career, the results are more than worth it -- this is masterful music from a major talent."

Rolling Stone
June 30-July14, 200 - Georgianne Nienaber

"Lost in the Grooves"

a great new album from Susan Cowsill.

Released recently on the label Blue Corn Music, the album is called Just Believe It and I am having a hard time doing just that. Just imagine, all of the horror of what has happened to New Orleans juxtaposed with the experience of listening to the heavenly vocals of one of the city's most talented singer/songwriters.
For the most part, Susan has stayed in the music business, supplying her angelic vocals to artists as diverse as Dwight Twilley and REM. For quite awhile, Cowsill was co-leader of one of the best bands of the '90's, The Continental Drifters, and you would be well advised to check out their CDs for some glorious country-flavored pop. ...Susan lost a brother in the mess that happened to New Orleans last year and has pretty much been on the road ever since like a lot of other Big Easy bands that lost their homes and possessions. To think of all she has lost this year and hear her voice pouring out of the speakers singing her new songs seems bittersweet to me. Still, the album is fantastic and I hope you search it out. She can hold her own with any female singer out there from Crowe to Pink to Amos and, shit, any male singer as well. Her voice is glorious and so is this CD. The Music Nerd Knows......

- Grooves


Just Believe It



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 (both formerly of Indianapolis-based band Middletown), merges a seamless rock sensibility with an organic sensitivity that echoes the singer’s own.

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."