In a brief moment of driving today, I heard an NPR feature on the Blue Shadows. They were a Vancouver band fronted by Billy Cowsill of the Cowsills (the 60’s band that inspired the Partridge Family and had hits with “Indian Lake” and “Hair”). Back in 1993 they recorded an album of what would now be hailed as incredible alt-country songs, On the Floor of Heaven. But back then they were up against Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey with no internets, no YouTube, no iTunes… So, naturally, they went nowhere. But here seventeen years later, I finally heard them, and I have listened to a couple of their song (especially “Deliver Me”) over and over.
I also found that someone taped them performing on the back of a truck on a street in Vancouver. But just watch the videos a couple of times. The first time listen to the awesome sound coming out of this four piece band. The 12-string guitar makes the sound so full, and the harmonies are vintage Everly Brothers. The second time watch what’s going on around them. People just walk on by like nothing’s happening. Sigh. The fools. My God, people! Billy Cowsill was on the freaking Johnny Cash Show! What the hell? I don’t profess to be 1/1000th of the talent of Billy Cowsill, but this is the reality of playing in a band for 99 percent of musicians. For every awesome night with a crowd in the palm of your hands there are ten where you sound like the most amazing thing ever…and everyone acts like you’re not even there.