Pegged as a country act, Vancouver’s Blue Shadows, in fact owes its sound more to the British Invasion of the mid-‘60s than to Nashville of the 90s.
The group is fronted by longtime popmeisters Billy Cowsill and Jeffrey Hatcher, who share an affinity for Beatlesque harmonies and ringing acoustic guitars. It has a date at Louis on campus Saturday night.
Cowsill, on the telephone from his manager’s Vancouver office, waxed eloquent about his latest incarnation in the pop wars. To appreciate that enthusiasm you should know that the 48-year-old Cowsill was the forefront of the pop hit-making machinery in the late ‘60s with various brothers and sisters performing under The Cowsills banner.
He abandoned the family group and struck out on his own. Struck out, being the operative term. Trying his hand at various enterprises that ended up exhausting any savings from his glory days with the Cowsills, he eventually fled to Vancouver, a place he has called home for the past 15 years.
There Cowsill immersed himself in the city’s music scene, fronting various groups until two years ago, when Hatcher entered the scene. The former Winnipegger had fronted several incendiary bands, the most notable being The Big Beat. Hatcher and Cowsill launched an informal audition by singing Beatles tunes.
“We were kindred spirits; our harmonies were effortless,” Cowsill enthused about that first meeting. “We’re 12 years apart but our songbooks are the same. The sound was uncanny.”
Cowsill credits Hatcher with revitalizing a lagging career when the pair formalized their partnership in the Blue Shadows. In its short life – its debut disc was released las summer – the band scored a Juno nomination but were edged out by the Rankin Family steamroller.
Backed by the Larry Wanagas management team, Wanagas is responsible to managing K.D. Lang’s supernova career, Cowsill anticipates a bright future for Blue Shadows.