If you’ve listened to much of the Coffee & Markets podcasts I’ve hosted, you’ll know that I’m a huge live music fan. After a conversation the other day with our founder, Ben Domenech, we thought it might be fun for me to share some of my regular musical pilgrimages and let you know just what you should be listening to right now.
Living in Austin, the live music capital of the world, and the home of two of America’s greatest music festivals: South by Southwest and Austin City Limits, I’m neck deep in the live music scene whenever I can be. A regular trip to grab a beer with friends, a date night with my wife, or even a trip to the airport, can turn into a chance to discover new talent or see a musician you love. That’s what’s great about this town!
During last month’s SXSW festival I was waiting to listen to Jade Bird at KUTX Live at The Four Seasons eating a breakfast taco and overheard some folks behind me talking about an artist from Colorado named Brent Cowles. A “folk, meets southern rock, with some gospel thrown in for good measure,” kind of sound, the guy said. When I got home later that day I decided to check Cowles out and see if that mix, which sounds right up my alley, was right. Turns out, it was pretty damn close.
Cowles, the son of a Colorado preacher, has been in and out of the music business a couple of times, and at only 28, that’s kind of crazy to imagine. His voice is so unique though, his range so great, and his sound so intriguing, that every time he reconsiders, music is eager to welcome him back. He first entered into music scene as part of the band You, Me & Apollo from 2011-2014 before quitting after feeling that he had lost his passion.
After a brief brake he returned to music, met up with his current drummer Joe Richmond, and some new help to put together his latest music. “It started out like, ‘Let’s do one song and see where that goes,’” Cowles told Westword. “We did one song, and we’re like, ‘Okay, now let’s do an EP. Let’s see what happens, because this is working.’ I think we’ve both learned from our experiences, because how can you not and still continue in this business? Mostly we just clicked instantly, and this has just been something that makes sense ever since we started working together.”
His upcoming album, “How to be Okay Alone,” looks like an album that will be perfectly at home on the shelf next to Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night Sweats, Alabama Shakes, and even the great Willie Nelson. Cowles has rock & roll, blues, and some serious soul in his music, with wisdom well beyond his 28 years.
Cowles is an artist you can enjoy while you’re driving down a country road, downing a few beers with friends on your back deck, or just hanging out on Saturday afternoon. It’s hard, it’s really hard not to tap your foot, and let yourself really enjoy yourself when you listen to Cowles. Whether it’s “Keep Moving” or “The Fold,” from his upcoming album, or “Cold Times” and “Lift Me Up” from a 2017 EP, the more you listen to Cowles, the more you’ll enjoy his unique blended style.
If you’re into the whole streaming thing like the kids are these days, I’m sure you’ll be able to stream Cowles album when it hits this June, but of course, you can also buy it at your local record store, or online on iTunes, Amazon, or on the Brent Cowles website. Remember, support up and coming artists — buy your music.