MP3 Bowman - Living to Dream
Bowman is ambitious, high-reaching power pop artist shooting to go right to the front of the line and make records that can sell oodles beyond the niche-orientation of the genre----imagine Myracle Brah being obsessed with making a chart-topping album
14 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Modern Rock, POP: Today''s Top 40
As music fans brace themselves for the onslaught of hype destined to herald the next marginally talented band or artist to "make it," a truly gifted singer/songwriter prepares to self-release his astounding sophomore album, Living to Dream. Boston-based musician, Bill Bowman, is a charismatic live performer of outrageous talent, whose music has been compared to artists are varied as Live, The Black Crows, Dire Straits, Stephen Stills and Fables of the Reconstruction-era REM. With the release of Living to Dream -- the much-anticipated follow up to his critically acclaimed debut album, Believe -- Bowman introduces an indelible collection of fourteen original compositions that perfectly showcase his impressive songwriting skills, fluid musicianship and incomparably compelling voice. Like oxygen in a pop music vacuum, Living to Dream compares favorably with albums like John Mayer''s staggeringly successful Room For Squares and Lives'' multi-platinum breakthrough, Throwing Copper. You heard it here first.
With The Beatles, and U2 among his many influences, Bowman is an artist for whom the song always comes first. Introspective and insightful, occasionally wistful, frequently uplifting; Bowman''s Living to Dream is a work drawn from a life steeped in a passion for music. As Bowman tells the story, he first started playing Dobro in a bluegrass band with his father when he was a little boy growing up in Maryland. "From there, I fell in love with the Beatles, got into playing melody over chords and moved on to the guitar." In the sixth grade, Bowman''s music teacher involved him in a project that profoundly shaped his musical path. "She was a major Beatles fan and she started teaching a little rock band after school. The plan was that we''d give a couple of concerts at the end of the school year -- one on PTA night, and another at a day assembly. We learned how to play "Day Tripper" and "Help!" and I just totally loved it," he laughs. "From Bluegrass, oddly enough, I went to the Beatles!"
After graduating high school, Bowman took the lack of advice from his career guidance counselor and enrolled in Boston''s famed Berklee College of Music. Unfortunately, it wasn''t the experience he''d hoped for. "Berklee is extremely competitive. It felt so confining and turned out to be a carbon copy of everything I hated about High School to begin with. In the end, Berklee reinforced what I already knew; that I just wanted to emote what I felt inside, cleverly and honestly through my songs." After two years at Berklee, Bowman left the school and started his own graphic design business while performing his songs in the T stations of Boston. The subway was surprisingly kind to him as he now has countless fan signatures on the lyric books he carried with him. He recalls the experience fondly noting that; "it was nice to see music breaking through boundaries, where all kinds of people were into it." One of those lucky commuters was Lynda Morgenroth from the Boston Globe, who gave Bowman some of his first press, describing him as "progressive rock with a soulful stab of ricochet poetry."
Later, Bowman studied with renowned vocal coach, Mark Baxter, through whom he learned to sing effectively and with great emotion, without hurting his voice. From there, he began performing in nightclubs around Boston with various bands backing him up. After only one performance at the Hard Rock Café, Matt Scencio raved "[Bowman] has a dynamic and soulful sound, check him out!" Bowman decided it was time to make an album and in 2001 he released, Believe, playing most of the instruments himself. The album charted on CMJ and several radio stations in the south and Midwest while garnering rave press reviews for regional and national outlets alike. "I just got lucky," Bowman says with characteristic modesty. "For some reason people liked it and I was fortunate that they wrote about it."
And write about it, they did, to wit:
"When listening to Believe, the voice you hear is haunting. It has a depth that comes from only one place; pain, but with hope around the edges. The guitar playing is raw elegance with an edge; there are no frills.
-- Middlesex Beat
"Boston subway performer Bowman jumps into the mainstream modern rock arena on his debut album, Believe. These songs have soul and Bowman delivers his vocals with passion. It''s nice to see someone doing what they love. If there is any room left in this world for straight-ahead, honest rock and roll, Bowman is here to fill it up."
-- Instant Magazine
"Bowman''s new album, Believe, displays the talent, fury and depth of this young man''s superior guitar ability and wonderful, unique voice. Bowman knows how to rock and his love for the genre is contagious. I can''t say enough about the sound, performance and production here. It''s as good as it gets. In an age of manufactured rock artists, Bowman is a special talent who sings and plays from his heart. Bowman can and will be a fixture in rock and roll."
-- Performer Magazine
"It''s not often you find a singer/songwriter with musical roots grounded in folk and Americana who can rock out like Boston''s Bowman can. Bowman, who has a beautifully distinctive voice, also plays all guitars and bass on this record. Believe sounds like a rocking mixture of early Live and Simon and Garfunkel. Bowman might have gotten his start playing in Boston''s subway stations, but you don''t need a room full of rock critics to tell you this guy is the real deal."
"A combination of acoustic rock, pop, and soulful ballads, Bowman''s music defies category, yet critics and industry representatives alike have singled him out for his work."
-- The Globe
Perhaps the highest praise came when, out of thousands of demos submitted, Believe earned Bowman the title of ''''Best New Artist'''' in music writer, Larry Flick''s Continental Drift column for Billboard Magazine''s February 2001 issue. Flick raved: "This Boston-based rocker has been making waves locally this year with a sound that seems to proudly pay tribute to the no-frills sound of early Tom Petty and John Mellencamp. Bowman has an instantly engaging voice that is, by turns, warmly romantic and aggressively raspy. Throughout the set, he flexes clever, relationship driven lyrics in arrangements that are appropriately spare."
At the end of that year, Bowman was nominated for Best Male Vocalist in 2002''s prestigious Boston Music Awards. While he lost to Extreme/Van Halen vocalist Gary Cherone, Bowman acknowledges, "Just to be nominated was quite an accomplishment."
Refueled by the overwhelming reception for Believe, Bowman took a break from recording until 2002, when fresh inspiration and renewed confidence in his own talent lead to the recording of Living to Dream. "What got me inspired to record again was attending all of these music conferences," Bowman recalls. "Producers I''d meet would say to me, "We really like Believe, and we''d like to hear more of your music." He immediately began writing again, while also fine-tuning and recording songs he was already playing live with his band. Out of some twenty new songs, a fourteen found a home on Living to Dream.
Originally recorded in demo form, Bowman decided to rework some of Living to Dream''s arrangements and record new tracks with the input of producer Scott Riebling, former Letters to Cleo bassist, who''s also worked on recordings for bands like American Hi Fi and Nina Gordon. "I chose to go with him because Scott is the local producer god, and also a fan of my work," says Bowman. "I''m writing new material all the time and Scott says to me, ''You write too many good songs!'' Coming from him, that''s huge!"
For the first batch of 10 songs we recorded the drums at Q-Division, Somerville, MA and recorded the guitars, bass and keyboards at Hedgehog in Berkeley, MA. I recorded all the vocals in my house, which was great I could take as long as I wanted and not worry about money. The next batch of 10 songs I produced and recorded the drums at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, MA and Boston Skyline in Boston, MA. All the guitars, bass and vocals where recorded at my house. All mixing was done at Hedgehog Studios, Berkeley, MA.
Bowman enlisted many of the local Boston heroes to record and perform the recordings live. The list includes the talents of former Wheat bassist, Bob Melanson, drummer Gabe Cabral, who''s performed with Blues guitarist, Johnny A, Ed Valaskus, bass player for The Gentlemen, Paul Amenta, guitar player from Wrench, Charlie O''Neal, guitar player from Must, Tom Smith, keyboards from Elcodrive, and Dave Ramsey, keyboards from the Swinging Steaks.
Like every great storyteller, Bowman writes about what he knows and what touches him; personally or vicariously. "I think the difference between Believe and Living to Dream is, with this album, I wanted to write about other people. These songs are all based on true stories and experiences I -- and people who are close to me -- have gone through," he offers, adding that he avoids getting too lyrically specific. "I think there''s this threshold, where you can get too specific and it becomes almost cheesy. I want to be somewhat abstract, so people can relate to the song."
With the wide release of Living to Dream, Bowman plans to promote the album with local and regional touring; taking his music to as many fans as possible.