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Bentley’s Bandstand: January 2024

By Bill Bentley

Lance Cowan, So Far, So Good.

Spend any time writing about great American music the past 40 years, and there’s a good chance Lance Cowan will have appeared in that world. Cowan has been one of the most inspired publicists in the middle of all that music for so long it’s no surprise that he’s also a formidable singer-songwriter.

But what is a stone cold surprise is just how great an artist he is. It’s a pretty good bet that no other publicist has ever had these kinds of songwriting and singing abilities, much less had it for the most part hidden away. Surely it’s one of the great surprises of living this life in music.Cowan’s songs have a super-deep resonance whether he’s writing about romance, people he’s met or just living the life that he

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does. It takes a special talent to work one side of the fence promoting so many great other singer-songwriters over the years and then switchinghats and heading into the recording studio.

The man has that special openness that the best singers always possess, and then the eagle-eye ability to write the kind of songs that voice fits. Then there’s originals like “Little Johnny Pierce” and “Ben McGhee” that are able to bring to life the kind of characters that are never forgotten. In the space of a song it feels like new friends have come alive.

 

This is music for the ages, and the dozen songs offered on SO FAR, SO GOOD feel like an incredible study of America firmly rooted in the past, but also able to make the jump into the present and, often, right off into the future. What a wonder.

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