Sean Rowe: The Salesman and the Shark (Anti)

 |   |  <1 min read

Sean Rowe: The Lonely Maze
Sean Rowe: The Salesman and the Shark (Anti)

New York singer-songwriter Rowe's indie release Magic of 2009 (re-released by his new label Anti 18 months ago) inevitably drew comparisons with Tom Waits for its sobering and poetic reflections on life, religion and an America gone to seed.

His road-worn baritone, musical references to battered blues and empty-bottle ballads equally recalled label-mate Waits.

While those aural and thematic reference points are largely intact for this one, Rowe allows a more uplifting sound to infuse his melancholy material and where once melodies were suggested they now come through with clarity, as on The Lonely Maze which soars gently as he sees the universe in a blade of grass and he considers what a spendthrift of life and opportunity he has been.

And where former observations were broad (there are still some), here many are intimate and personal (Signs, The Wall).

Softly augmented by strings or spare guitar playing, Rowe's songs sound like slightly shop-soiled precious gems and this feels like a major statement where Americana folk meets well crafted diary entries and thoughtful ruminations.

You can't hear him without making the Waits reference, but now an individual voice comes through, and it's worth hearing.

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Dear Time's Waste: Spells (DTW/Isaac)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Dear Time's Waste: Spells (DTW/Isaac)

The previous EP in '08, Room for Rent, by this Auckland singer/writer Claire Duncan was notable for its droning and hypnotic qualities (guitar washes) alongside delicately realised folk, and you... > Read more

The Louvin Brothers: My Baby's Gone 1955-64 (Raven/EMI)

The Louvin Brothers: My Baby's Gone 1955-64 (Raven/EMI)

About 15 years ago (at least) I saw a short-lived Auckland band The Dribbling Darts of Love which was fronted by Matthew Bannister, formerly of Sneaky Feelings. I'd always liked Matthew's music and... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Jethro Tull, Al Stewart: Hanging on the telephone.

Jethro Tull, Al Stewart: Hanging on the telephone.

Rock journalists in this country need little reminding that we live a long way from the action. But the reminders come every time a record company or promoter says that deathless phrase,... > Read more

DAVE BRUBECK (1920-2012): Standing the test of Time

DAVE BRUBECK (1920-2012): Standing the test of Time

Time. It marched on. Dave Brubeck lived to a fine old age in jazz where unemployment, insolvency and lifestyle usually takes its toll much earlier. In his obituaries Brubeck could reasonably expect... > Read more