Edge of Reality
September 11, 1994 COWEN KNOCKS ON DOOR OF SUCCESS: Even with loads of talent, and piles of innovative ideas, it takes downright dogged determination to become an insider in the music industry. No one knows better than Doug Cowen, South Bend's folk blues rocker who at age 33 continues his one-man musical onslaught against the brick walls of the industry with his latest CD, 'Edge of Reality.' Cowen's unique style is hard to pinpoint, and perhaps, unfortunately, that's why record labels have a hard time letting him in. His new six-song effort produced independently at The Music Room, a high-tech recording studio in Auburn,Mississippi-shows Cowen is a master craftsman with diverse influences ranging from Elvis to John Cougar Mellencamp. "Edge of Reality' asserts it's style right off the bat with the flamboyant 'This Appetite.' After a blurry rhythm guitar intro and a swaggering signal of Cowen clearing his throat, the song kicks in with Jason Palmer's dynamic-funky drum beat, merging Weylon Michael's spacy electric guitar riffs along with Cowen's smooth rangy voice that all come together to mold a precious eclectic sound that sizzles with pulsating energy throughout, reminiscent of the classic 'I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You' byThe Alan Parsons Project. The title track is equally compelling, highlighting Cowen's vocals, backed by a bubbling bass, a touch of piano by The Music Room's own Jim Whitehead and Michael Graham, backup vocals by Kim Harris, and a scintillating guitar solo sandwiched in-between. It's reflective lyrics about a de ja vu are the most impressive of the six selections. The fourth cut, 'Watching You,' is a warmly sedated acoustical lust song with a light country appeal. With it's gentle Spanish guitar, wallowing accordion, and pattering congas, 'Watching You' is a strong heart-felt love song that Cowen wrote for his pregnant wife. 'Modern Bride' is a catchy top-40 tune that. Reasserts his vocal mastery, while the driving chorus on 'Get Up and Go' serves as a fitting anthem for Cowen. The finale, 'Keep On Rocken,' puts a new twist on the 'rocker singing about what he does best' theme. With a vintage rock & roll harmony echoing Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode' along with the soulful harmonica licks, it's lyrics spell out with equal parts defiance, sarcasm, and spunk: 'Just keep on rocken and you'll never grow old. That's what they tell me, and, man, they ought'to know It doesn't matter if they say it's no good, or what the latest fad is out in Hollywood. Just keep on rocken...' Doug Cowen is a die-hard musician who took up playing the guitar and singing shortly after graduating from Clay High School. His first band, the Basics, broke up in 1983, and his first solo hit, 'Easy Love,' came and went on the radio airwaves in 1988. Cowen, like many other starving musicians, battled frustration in his pursuit of 'getting in' and nearly threw in the towel after his two previous albums 'While You're Young,' 'This is My Life, This is My Home,' received little attention. He also had a degenerative eye disease and became legally blind 10 years ago. But with 'Edge of Reality,' Cowen is knocking louder than ever on the giant, menacing-door of success. It could be just a matter of time before someone mighty answers. By Jim Vogi Penny Saver Mishawaka Times - Mishawaka, September 11, 1994.