Susan Cowsill's "Lighthouse" - A Beacon Of Hope For New Orleans

Sunday, May 2, 2010

On May 18, 2010, Susan Cowsill, the youngest member of the much-loved and iconic 60s family band The Cowsills, will be releasing her second solo album, Lighthouse. This follow-up to her 2005 debut album, Just Believe It, will be an extremely profound and introspective journey into her feelings following the horrific onslaught of Hurricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans in 2005.

For Cowsill, the tragedy is even more personal because she lost her beloved brother Barry Cowsill, and much of her personal and emotional belongings in the aftermath of the storm. Another Cowsill brother, Billy, passed away from illness the same year.

As Cowsill states: “Lighthouse was written over the last four years during our recovery from Hurricane Katrina. As you might guess, the songs on this record are pulled from the very deep well of this most life changing experience. Having lost 99.9% of our material and emotional belongings, and one whole human being, my brother Barry Cowsill, there was much to say and feel and express. It has taken all this time to pull ourselves back together to even be able to form comprehensible sentences never mind full on songs.”

Despite the powerful emotions, Cowsill's optimism and spirituality have always been her way of overcoming the dark times and with her natural talent and hard work ethic, she has created some of the greatest songs ever collected on one album.

She has gathered some of the best musicians to help her remember and reflect the beauty of New Orleans with all its joys and sorrows. These include her own sister-in-law Vicki Peterson from The Bangles and Cowsill's other band The Continental Drifters. Peterson adds guest vocals on the song "River Of Love", penned by Barry, and joined by other Cowsill brothers, Bob, Paul, and John (Peterson's husband). Session musician Waddy Wachtel, who began his career playing with the Cowsill family in the 60's, also supplies his legendary guitar chops to the song.

Lifelong friend Jackson Browne is also on board, offering his generous talent and heart to "Avenue Of The Indians", while Cowsill (who also plays acoustic guitar throughtout the album) gives one of her finest performances to the Glen Campbell-Jimmy Webb penned tune, "Galveston". Other musicians appearing on the album are Cowsill's husband Russ Broussard (drums, percussion), Pete Winkler (bass), Jimmy Robinson (12 string guitar), Aaron Stroup (electric guitars), Jack Craft (cello, mandolin, cello, piano), Sam Craft (violin), Ted Armstrong (bass, vocal, acoustic guitar, hammond b-3 organ), and Alex McMurray (guitar).

With such talent on offer, it is easy to see that a lot of love, heart, soul, and passion have been poured into this album, which is fortunate because this is what is necessary to help rebuild New Orleans, both financially and physically as well as emotionally and spiritually.

Cowsill recalls: "Going through Katrina was most certainly like experiencing a death. The time in between the storm and the making of Lighthouse was the grieving period, and the recording of the music was the funeral, laying it all to rest, saying goodbye, and starting over. So here we are, in our new world. And this world is filled with beauty and light and excitement, and the new found knowledge that the present is really all that we have, because everything can change in the blink of an eye...hey...that sounds like a song comin' on...gotta go!"

With the help of loving fans who are ready and eager to purchase the album, together we can endeavour to help Cowsill and her band restore the city as best they can, and make it a world of beauty, light, and excitement once again.

In the meantime, here are some audio clips of two songs from the album, "Dragon Flys" and "Lighthouse".


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