It’s clear from the brief conversation I had with Sean Rowe that he’s a man excited about everything he’s doing. It’s been a whirlwind seven months for the New York-based singer/songwriter. In less than a year he’s toured North America, released a critically acclaimed debut album, and even had time to tour across the United Kingdom with Noah and The Whale.
Rowe was in Canada getting ready for his first ever Toronto show when we spoke. He had become quite enamored with the Great White North. “It’s great,” he said but sounding disappointed as he had to move on after just over a week in the country. Interestingly, Magic, Rowe’s debut album, almost didn’t see the light of day, “We recorded the record in 2009,” he said, “but never officially released it.” However, he had caught the attention of ANTI, who began to support his efforts.
With the success of his debut LP, Rowe remains with both feet firmly on the ground; even after being compared to the likes of Leonard Cohen. “It’s always amazing to be mentioned in the same sentence as the greats. It feels good,” he reflected, noting that his often melancholic style of songwriting isn’t for everyone. We start to talk about the review process and in particular, bad reviews. He laughs, “That’s (kind of) cool, man. I like that, because I think music is (kind of) bland if it appeals to everybody. It makes it more special if the people that like it really, really like it.” Although he does admit to not reading reviews and criticized the way how some are written. He recalls one such review, which was written by someone whose favorite album was Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. He makes it clear that for a music review to be effective, the writer needs be interested in that genre of music they’re writing about. Not only does Rowe have insight into music creation but also music promotion, seemingly uninterested in the possibility of being criticized for ‘selling out’.
The UK has really taken to Rowe’s darkly mellifluous sound. Speaking about last year’s tour in support of UK favorites, Noah and The Whale, Rowe said he loved the UK, “I’ve been really itching to come back ever since I played out there,” and he will be this June. Rowe has been added to the bill for June’s Glastonbury Festival. One of the largest music festivals in the UK, Glastonbury should allow Rowe to reach a greater audience with his music. Glastonbury has hosted artists such as Frank Turner and Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and should prove to be a great showcase for acoustic artists such as Sean Rowe. “I’m really excited about it,” he said. “The integrity of the festival is huge…Hopefully we’ll have some kind of tour based around that.” I’m sure his collective of UK fans would love to see that happen.
Like any hardworking musician, Rowe plans on touring across the north-eastern states and the west coast of the US before Glastonbury. Make sure you check out his debut full length, Magic, and check out his website (www.seanrowe.net) for upcoming tour dates near you. Sean Rowe is a name you’re going to want to remember.