The Vancouver-based Blue Shadows, led by the cadaverous-looking Billy “Bud” Cowsill make great music on their debut disc. This is truly a blending of country-rock with British beat, fueled by enormously satisfying harmony singing.
Blue Shadows sounds a little bit like Blue Rodeo but with rougher lead vocals more hound-doggy. And when the harmonies rise, they push hard. I was totally mesmerized by the song Deliver Me. It has been playing on endless rotation on the CD player since this disc arrived. The harmonies are reminiscent of the Beatles, or the Everly Brothers.
And the songs are always melodically astute, full of references to both country and pop history. There is a wonderful fusion going on, heard on the first cut, Coming On Strong. The drum flourishes sound like they came right out of 1963.
That is following by The Fool is the Last One to Know, which sounds in its entirety as if it came from 1962. Blue Shadows conveys remembrances of things past without being drippy. The songs bring back the not-so-good times as well as visions of mirror-ball glittering over a deserted dance floor. They’re sad and sweet, edgy and rugged, but always tuneful.
Billy “Bud” Cowsill, once a child star with his singing family The Cowsills, has been in Vancouver for a while, doing demos and producing various rising bands. He and Hatcher, formerly of Winnipeg and Toronto, co-produced the album and co-wrote most of the 12 tunes.
This is a great debut from a great band. The Blue Shadows will be playing Zaphod Beeblebrox on Sept 22.