Monday, July 2, 2012
Pitstop: Sean Rowe
My introduction to singer/songwriter Sean Rowe happened in rather different circumstances than what would be deemed my normal. A brief trip up to Albany some months ago to visit Olivia Quillio, a talented singer/songwriter in her own right, turned into an afternoon of sharing music of interest to each other not unlike a slower-paced version of Portlandia's "Did You Read?" sketch only with some of the artists/bands shared tending to be pretty much unknown to the other. Enter Sean Rowe, when Olivia asked if I had heard of him she seemed absolutely taken aback that I hadn't and whipped out her iPhone to quickly resolve that after explaining Rowe's part in fostering her own talents. Turns out Sean Rowe used to host open mic nights in their native Troy, New York which she attended religiously. Neat.
But all of this is just a fun like anecdote that in no way does justice to Rowe's talents. When Olivia played that first Sean Rowe video, I fell in love. Hard. Rowe's reverberating baritone carries some absolute svelte songcraft filled with all sorts of brilliantly constructed phrases as he juxtaposes nature imagery with tales of human woe. Each and every track on Rowe's ANTI- Records debut Magic is quotable and memorably so.
Rowe's writes in a style that combines a kind of nonchalant, non-insistent poetry with detailed plain speak - the result which highlights exactly what he feels you need to hear. What might be trivial normally carries an addition weight when spoken by Rowe- "He puts out the light and he jerks off alone" ("American"). Rowe's no soul artist but his songs feel like they very much could be - filled with heart, passion, and occasionally boiling over with fiery spirit ("Jonathan").
You can listen to Magic on Spotify while you wait for Rowe's upcoming third album The Salesman and the Shark which isn't out until August 28th on ANTI- .