Former New Grass Revival member John Cowan adds his own twist to some solid soul tunes. A strong vocalist with an amazing amount of control, Cowan continues to be one of the unsung heroes of American music. Certainly his work with the New Grass Revival throughout the latter part of the '70s to the final release by the band in 1989 places him in an interesting position. A progressive bluegrasser with some strong leanings, this native of Evansville, IN, has all the chops to cross genres without blinking an eye. Here he wails Wilson Pickett's "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)," a recognizable radio hit, just as he does another Pickett tune, "99 1/2," with plenty of heart and soul. "I Was Made to Love Her," penned by Stevie Wonder, is given life through Cowan's treatment. Just as good are his versions of the classics "Mustang Sally" and "Groove Me." However, it is Cowan's rendition of the Percy Sledge Muscle Shoals standard "When a Man Loves a Woman" that takes him (and his listeners) over the top. With as much sensuality and raw emotion as any singer has ever mustered up for a single performance, Cowan takes the reins of blue-eyed soul firmly in hand and flies. Cowan's already significant talent is enhanced by backing from the likes of the Ken Smith Band, Sam Bush, Paul Worley, and Grooveyard, as well as the harmony vocals of Jonell Mosser and Maura O'Connell. His magnificent version of the bluesy "Two Steps from the Blues" takes him into new territory that could very easily be termed "bluesgrass." While he may have made his name in bluegrass, he is certainly an artist who defies definition. This a wonderful introduction to the solo career of John Cowan and to the revival of blue-eyed soul music, a close cousin to country & western, bluegrass, and many other types of American music. And seemingly, Cowan can handily cover all of them with spirit.
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AllMusic Review by Jana Pendragon