B&L: What animal do you associate yourself with (given our ties to oxen)?
Rowe: The Red Tail Hawk is my guy. I’ve had some close encounters with them in the past. I once came across a perfect sun-bleached hawk skull sitting all by itself on a lonely patch of moss underneath a huge oak at my old haunt at Oakwood Cemetery.
B&L: Why music? Why do you seek it? Why do you create it? How’d it come calling to you?
Rowe: Probably because it’s kind of invisible. It’s truly magic in that you can’t really figure out how it works and that it’s not really a tangible thing. Yet, it has enormous power over the body. I was too young to remember when it called me. It was always with me. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t a part of me.
B&L: What’s the making of a great show?
Rowe: When you can leave all “thinking” out of the experience. When you’re able to ride the wave perfectly content without knowing where you’re gonna end up. That’s bound to be a great show.
B&L: Congratulations on your beautiful new record, “New Lore.” What sort of goals did you have for yourself when you set out to make this record?
Rowe: I have the same goals for every record. I don’t wanna put out anything that’s simply an exercise of my own demons. I write songs that I think will connect with someone. It’s the same goal every time. I try to put myself in the position of someone listening. I wanna take them somewhere.
B&L: Did you gather any lessons from past record making experiences that you channeled in the creation of “New Lore”?
Rowe: Yeah the eternal songwriter in the sky keeps showing up on every record I do and she keeps telling me to slow down and keep it simple!
B&L: Tell us a bit about the album’s artwork. The cover is pretty interesting – there’s a lot going on…
Rowe: Yeah it kinda morphed into the way it is now. I knew I wanted a kind of map on my head depicting some symbolic imagery relating to some of the emotions I was feeling about these songs. The illustration was inspired by a late 19th century drawing of a Phrenology chart.
B&L: Is songwriting an easy or arduous process for you? Are you a fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer, or do you have to schedule “office hours”?
Rowe: I usually write songs in 3’s. I’m not sure why, but it’s just what happens. I don’t read into it too much. Definitely no office hours. I write well if I’m walking. In that case it usually involves me speaking into the phone.
B&L: What are you looking for folks to take away from the music of Sean Rowe when they place themselves in a position to experience it?
Rowe: I hope it’s kind of like a steaming hot, farm-to-table meal after they’ve been living off of skittles and orange circus peanuts for a month.
B&L: How do you keep that voice in shape?
Rowe: I try to warm up before I perform but also have been blessed to have the gene missing that loves tobacco.
B&L: What’s one tune (or, heck, a couple) that exists out there in the ether that blows you away that you kind of wish you had written yourself?
Rowe: “Famous Blue Raincoat” (Leonard Cohen), “Elephant” (Jason Isbell), “It’s alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding” (Dylan) to name a few…
B&L: What can folks expect when they come out to see you perform at the Word Barn on April 15th?
Rowe: Hopefully to see and hear something they have not heard one person do before.
B&L: Question number 12. If you could have a dozen of anything, what would that dozen of something be?
Rowe: 12 opportunities to take back something really stupid I said, or life-changing decision that I made in haste. Yep! That would be some good insurance.
Sean Rowe will stroll into the Word Barn in Exeter on Saturday, April 15th – part of his “New Lore” (out on ANTI- Reccords) record release run. To reserve your spot and for further information click here.