Tag Archives: Susan Cowsill

Another Kickstarter: Dwight Twilley

 

Dwight Twilley is still making great music, and like many veteran artists who are ignored by radio and major labels, he’s doing it himself with a little help from his fans. In recent years Dwight has issued a number of rarities and covers albums which have both thrilled longtime followers and helped circumnavigate the industry bullshit and put some money into his pocket. 

Now in 2010, a brand new albumGreen Blimp

At this point the project goal has been surpassed, so any pledges will definitely be honored, but some interesting rewards for different purchase levels are still available. But even if you have signed up to buy the album elsewhere, you have to click on the Kickstarter site for this project and watch the video – it’s hilarious

Really excited to hear that there is a documentary film in the works as well. His is a story well worth telling, from early can’t miss status (and the fall of Shelter Records, which almost took out Tom Petty as well) to his award-winning book and recent DIY career revitalization. Anyone on board the Twilley parade knows that his hybrid Beatles/rockabilly vibe is irresistible, and songs like “I’m On Fire” are bonafide powerpop classics. 

Of course, there were also many bumps and bruises along the way, including the tragic death of his partner in musical crime, Phil Seymour. He’s had tremendous critical acclaim and periods of artistic anonymity, and although his catalogue speaks for itself, like many great artists, he’s unjustly underknown. 

But with every new album comes another chance

And if the leadoff track “Get Up” is any indication, Green Blimp will be a killer. Just knowing that Bill Pitcock IV is on guitar and Susan Cowsill is singing harmonies should be enough to get any Twilley fan salivating. 

Somewhere Phil Seymour is smiling. 

Rock Stars!

 Dwight Twilley website

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Blast From The Past: Dwight Twilley

Dwight Twilley fans are no doubt salivating over the recent avalanche of rarities, live cuts and demos that Dwight has decided to release to the market. Priced reasonably on tactile media and even cheaper via digital download, it’s a clear reminder of why Twilley (with and without partner Phil Seymour) holds a special place in pop history. Sincerely still ranks among the best pop debut albums of the rock era, a breath of fresh air with timeless songs, heartfelt vocals and engaging musicianship. Hard to believe that the Twilley/Seymour “band” lasted only two albums, although both recorded more classic pop on their own.

This wealth of material reminds me the excitement I felt ten years ago, when both a Twilley collection and a new Twilley album dropped virtually at the same time. Sure, there was always the occasional bootleg to savor, but now there was authorized product that we hoped would reinvigorate his career and bring the accolades he deserved. But neither Tulsa nor Between The Cracks broke out, and ten years later I still have the same wish for him.

At least I got my other wish – that open vault I pined for.

Here’s my original take from 1999 on Between The Cracks, Volume 1:

between cracks

A collection of fifteen unreleased tracks from across Twilley’s career, Between The Cracks is a godsend to fans (along with Tulsa, a brand new release on Copper Records). From his mercurial beginnings with partner Phil Seymour through the frustrations of trying to succeed against tides of indifference and just plain bad luck, Twilley’s history is spotted with brilliant work that is criminally underappreciated. Thanks to releases like these, Twilley might enjoy another well-deserved shot at the brass ring.

“Black Eyes,” the leadoff track, could well have fit on any of his releases, especially the first two. With trademark quavering vocals and the always-stellar Bill Pitcock IV on guitar, this sounds like the perfect follow-up to “I’m On Fire,” although it was recorded years later. Susan Cowsill’s harmony vocals graced many Twilley tracks at the time and she sounds almost as good as Phil Seymour. Similarly, “No Place Like Home,” recorded in 1990, could and should have been radio smash.

Some of the early tracks like “Living In The City” and “Too Young For Love” have that same primal pulse that many tracks on Sincerely do, and “Round And Around” is a stark, Lennon-esque balled (played on an out-of-tune piano) with a great vocal from Dwight. Despite the cloudy production (or perhaps the horrible shape some of these tapes might have been in) they are fascinating glimpses into Twilley’s early era. And if songs like “Why You Wanna Break My Heart” are more your speed, “Reach For The Sky” and the amazing “Oh Carrie” (maybe the best song on this set) will give you the two follow-up hit singles that never happened.

The whole package is first rate – Kent Benjamin’s heartfelt liner notes are excellent and Dwight contributes song-by-song comments that are informative and witty. As much as I look forward to his revived career and new material, I also hope Twilley continues to mine the vault to share his past with us. Oh, what might have been…

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