Artist of the Week Band of the Week Concert Reviews

Artist of the Week: Nic Cowan

His first time playing in New York Tuesday, you’d never be able to tell as the Atlanta-based artist captivated everyone in the room as if it was his hometown crowd.

Nic Cowan kicked off the night with the energetic first track on his recent release, Hardheaded. His raspy vocals and smooth instrumentals on “Get Me Going” was a welcomed introduction to his set. The edgy “Wrong Side” followed suit with soaring keyboard features and a R&B meets jam band vibe.!

“Thank you for making it feel like home to some Southern boys,” Cowan told the packed venue.

While “I Won’t Let Go” showcased Cowan’s more sensitive side with slowed vocals and acoustic guitar, the bluesy “Sun Dress” picked up the pace with soulful vocals. Seductive rhythms embodied the track with a slow rap feature and solid instrumental interludes throughout.

After debuting a new track on ukulele, Cowan got personal with the room while he introduced “Reno.” Inspired by an artist he met on the beach pursuing his dream of painting, Cowan advised, “Whatever’s inside of you, in your gut, do that.”

The poignant song silenced the room with delicate string features and acoustic guitar as Cowan’s wavering singing style had everyone in a trance.

Having toured with Zac Brown Band, Cowan said “Illumination” was inspired by their bus breaking down during the tour. Giving Cowan time to slow down and simply look at the stars he confessed, “I realized I never stop and look up at the sky and appreciate it all.”

A song about searching and questioning, a heart-pounding drum beat and atmospheric music accompaniment kept the audience intrigued throughout the remainder of the set. Last song, aptly titled “The Island Song” transported the venue to a warmer place. With Bob Marley-esque rhythms and a tie into Marley’s “One Love” to which the audience sang along word for word, Cowan and his band ended their set unplugged.

“This is such a small, intimate space I feel like I’m in my living room,” Cowan admitted. “It’s cold as hell up here. We’re from Atlanta so we’re going to try and warm it up a bit,” he said before he introduced “The Island Song.”

So, what better way to close the night with a sing along? The stripped down performance had concertgoers dancing and singing with the help of banjo, ukulele and maracas. With such a warm welcome at his first NYC performance, Cowan will no doubt be back soon.

For more on Nic Cowan, visit his Website and listen to his tracks below.

Features News

You Sing I Write's Weekly Wrap Up

The music world faced a major loss over a week ago when Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room. Just a day before the Grammys, rumors of several award show tributes abounded. While Adele‘s comeback performance was definitely one show highlight, Jennifer Hudson’s poignant cover of Houston’s infamous hit, “I Will Always Love You” was breathtaking.

On Monday, I started a new job at CBS Radio. Given the previous day’s events, my week had no shortage of news stories to be written. Whether it was NBA darling Jeremy Lin sharing his music taste with Fuse, or the rumors of a Chris Brown and Rihanna collaboration, I wrote about it. Since I’m still getting used to the rhythm of a full-time job my posts here might slow, but I’ll be sure to fill you in on all of my adventures on Twitter.

I was beyond excited to hear a preview of John Mayer’s new album when he posted a stream of one of the tracks Thursday. With wavering pedal steel, his familiar vocals and heartfelt lyrics, I’m anxiously awaiting his upcoming LP due out later in 2012. With so much new music due for release this year, I’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date. In the meantime, here are a few shows I’ll be catching this week and artists to have on your radar.

Mary Bragg – Tuesday 7pm @ The Living Room

This Americana songstress has a year-long residency at the Living Room titled “Mary Bragg With…” Each month, she performs two hours with a friend, showcasing new and old material as well as a collaboration with a new guest. I interviewed Bragg last year for CBS and Billboard where she filled me in on her songwriting and recording process as well as the evolution of her writing, which was originally inspired by her friend Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum.

When Your Heart Belongs to Another from Mary Bragg on Vimeo.

Nic Cowan – Tuesday 9:30pm @ Rockwood Music Hall

This Southern rocker has major support from some of country and rock’s biggest names including Zac Brown, who produced his latest release, and Kid Rock. Cowan has songwriting credits on each of Hardheaded‘s 13 tracks, two of which feature Brown and Kid Rock.

Tragedy – Friday 11:30pm @ Brooklyn Bowl

Words can’t even begin to explain what one can expect at this band’s show. Glitter, spandex and cover songs abound. Not to mention, scantily clad personal trainers jump around onstage while other members of the entourage blow glitter into the crowd. Finally, fans are brought onstage for an impromptu dance party. These are just a few of the elements that make for a truly unique show. Did I mention they’re an all metal tribute band to the Bee Gees?

What albums are you most excited to hear this year? Which bands are on your radar to see live? Let me know!