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by Steve Simels


Okay, this one really IS special.


From his just released debut CD (and my current nominee, however early, for Album of the Year), please enjoy Lance Cowan and the opening and closing tracks of his soul-solacing So Far, So Good.


Frankly, the record had me from the minute I heard the delicately chiming (mostly acoustic) guitars on the lead-off title track......and I remained enthralled all the way through its closing ode to "Mr. Ben McGhee." (An old guy I think you'll recognize/relate to; I certainly did.)


A little backstory: Lance's day job is as Nashville's savviest music publicist. I've known him in that capacity since the '90s, and over the years (both when I was a small bigshot at The Magazine Formerly Known as Stereo Review and, more recently, as a poor scribbler at this here blog) he's hipped me to a lot of great stuff I might otherwise not have heard (thanks, Lance!). Ironically enough, however, I only vaguely knew that he also had an out-of-the-office secret identity as a singer/songwriter.


Which leads us to his new album. It will surprise no one to learn that it is without question the quietest thing I've flipped over in years, which is to say it ain't a rock record. But however you categorize it-- folk/country/Americana/whatever -- it's still affected me on a gut level more than anything of its ilk I've heard in ages. The songs (which are all as wonderful as the two above) are literate, melodically memorable, poignant and often surprisingly funny, and they're sung by Lance in a deeply affecting Bruised Everyman voice that I'd kill to have. And the backing instrumentals -- by some of Music City's finest, including the legendary "Dangerous" Dan Dugmore on various guitars -- are so gorgeous you can float away on them, even when the subject matter gets a soupcon gritty. Not to mince words, but I've really really needed to hear something as honest, lovely, well crafted and touching as SFSG for far too long. And even without the loud backbeat I normally gravitate to, it's actually restored my faith in music generally (a feat I absolutely didn't expect).


Have I mentioned this is a freaking great album?


You can find out more about Lance over at his website HERE. And you can (and should) purchase (and stream) So Far, So Good over at Amazon HERE.


Oh, and BTW, if you happen to be in the vicinity of Nashville tonight, stop in at the album release party. It's at the Music Makers Stage at Delgado Guitars and the festivities start at 7:30pm.


Needless to say -- tell Lance that PowerPop sent you!!!


Meanwhile, have a great weekend, everybody!!!

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