STORY WRITTEN BY FERN BRODKIN
For Digital First Media
Beaucoup Blue, Philadelphia’s award-winning blues/Americana duo featuring father David Mowry and son Adrian Mowry, returns to Steel City Coffeehouse to celebrate the release of their latest CD “Elixir” (2016). They will be joined by their long-time band mates Bill Zinno on upright bass and Jeff Sheard on drums.
The CD was once again produced by Jim Salamone with the Mowrys and recorded at Cambridge Sound Studios in Philadelphia. It is the duo’s fourth album and features 11 original compositions and 2 traditional songs that showcase the Mowrys’ vocal talents, impactful songwriting and instrumental prowess on guitar, slide guitar and dobro. It includes songs penned separately by both father and son.
“It’s the best one yet,” said Adrian during a telephone interview with both Mowrys from their homes in Philadelphia. “Basically, the idea of recording it was that we wanted to keep everything original, which we did for the most part. We wanted to keep it as streamlined as possible. We tour a lot as a duo and then we get to play as a quartet and we wanted to incorporate that into the album as well.”
He added: “Half of the album is just my dad and (me) as a duo and the other half is with… Bill Zinno and Jeff Sheard. And we kept it pretty basic. Nobody else is on the album. What we do live is what we do in the studio.”
David added: “There is a continuity in the songs and in the performances that goes pretty easily from duo to quartet without it being some kind of dramatic shock.”
The Mowrys work well together, despite the potential for father and son squabbles. They’ve been performing for over 20 years and touring for about 15 years.
David acknowledges that there’s a precedent set for family-based bands in country music and Irish music but not so much in other genres.
“I guess in terms of the popular culture and in rock, there hasn’t been much of that because it represented a kind of separation from the generations. One generation wanted nothing to do with the next,” said David. “We get along very (well). When we got together, you could say it was Baby Boomer and Gen X. And those two generations, actually in many respects, got along pretty well because the musical tastes weren’t all that different.”
Adrian added: “We’re both pretty open-minded to all kinds of music no matter when it was played as long as we think it’s good. That’s the way I was raised with music… I’ll listen to anything if it sounds good. So when you have that kind of openness between the two generations then you can create music together.”
As is the case for many independent artists, it isn’t very lucrative.
“There’s hundreds of dollars to be made,” joked Adrian.
Yet David acknowledged the benefit of being independent artists and thus not subject to what a record company dictates.
“It ensures that we’re going to follow our hearts,” he said.
David and Adrian manage to keep going, despite the challenges. It all comes down to their love of making music.
“I told (Adrian) years ago, whenever you can’t stand doing it, let me know and we’ll stop,” said David. “As long as you want to do it and I have the ability, we’ll do it.”
He added: “The thing that happens is going out and performing and traveling and then coming back is generally so good that it just kind of reinvigorates us… It’s almost a spiritual calling… it has a way of connecting people on a real level and I can’t imagine not wanting to do it.”
Adrian responded: “I think you can get sick of a lot of things, different peripherals of this, maybe the traveling, maybe the food, maybe the hotels. But the one thing you never really get sick of… is performing and connecting with people on and off the stage.”
One way that the Mowrys connected to their loyal fan base for this recording project was to utilize crowd funding for the first time, though they were reluctant to venture into that arena.
“It’s great to have people that feel like they’re on the ground floor of something (and are) helping you out,” said Adrian. “I just wasn’t used to asking other people for help with that stuff.”
“There is a begging aspect,” added David.
Yet there was definitely a benefit.
“The people who contributed were extremely generous and very wonderful. We actually got to press some vinyl because of it too, which was great. I have always wanted to do that,” said Adrian.
Opening the show will be the Greg Sover Trio, including guitarist Allen James and bassist Garry Lee. They will perform material from Sover’s debut album “Songs of a Renegade,” which was released in 2016.