April 22, 2005
Susan Cowsill played rock music with the bittersweet feeling of country and the soulfulness of the blues. It didn't hurt she had master harmonica man Johnny Sansone on her gig at Jazzfest Friday afternoon to help with that second one.
She was gentle in a backhanded way. Ahhhh, the wonder of women. Cowsill played easy-going music about life and love. Sure, she wasn't the first to tackle such things in such a way, and the music wasn't mind-boggling, but she got the job done. Which was communicating--sharing--with the crowd her enjoyable music.
Cowsill was cordial, while her band was a class act. It was the first time I had seen bassist Rob Savoy onstage since his time with Cowboy Mouth. The band was essential for the Jazzfest performance. Some of Cowsill's songs were delicate, so it was important to have that beat and the smallest amount of flourishes here and there from each player so that the songs would succeed in a large field.
The most enjoyable song wasn't written by Cowsill. With the band on backing vocals, Cowsill closed out her set with a rousing, note-for-note rendition of The Pretenders' "Back on the Chain Gang." Cowsill's beautiful voice matched Chrissie Hynde's, while Savoy and the lead guitarist provided the ooh's and ahh's. Attention to detail is always a plus.