Sean Rowe: “Magic”

My review of Magic— the very special ANTI- debut from singer/songwriter Sean Rowe– is posted at CT today.

I’m grateful to the CT crew– and to my editor, Mark Moring, in particular– for letting me review this record for them. I remember a time when CT’s music coverage was confined, very narrowly, to expressly religious music; now, they’re letting me write about a dark, complex, occasionally-profane singer/songwriter album from a man who is, by his own admission, irreligious, but who employs religious language for his own, unblinking expressions of existentialism. The times, they are a-changin’.

Speaking of which: I am sincerely, deeply impressed by this album, which may be the most accomplished and mature album I’ve heard from a (relatively) new singer/songwriter in a long time. Here’s a guy who really stands out from the perennial crop of “New Dylans”– he’s more into slippery, spiritual love ballads in the Van Morrison vein, sturdy old-school rock and roll like Bruce Springsteen might have written once upon a time, even some Beat-centric finger-poppers a la Tom Waits, circa The Heart of a Saturday Night. His bread and butter seems to be his glacially-paced but thrillingly wordy Leonard Cohen-styled folk ballads, though. Everything about the guy– voice and songwriting alike– suggests a much older, more seasoned man, which makes me awfully excited about where he might go from here.

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