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First Impressions: Sean Rowe, “Magic”

By Daniel Kohn on December 1, 2010


First Impressions: Sean Rowe, “Magic”

Sean Rowe
Release Date: February 22, 2011


01. Surprise
02. Time To Think
03. Night
04. Jonathan
05. Old Black Dodge
06. Wet
07. The Walker
08. American
09. Wrong Side Of The Bed
10. The Long Haul

First Impressions:

Sean Rowe is releasing his third full-length album, Magic (not to be confused with the Bruce Springsteen album of the same name), in February 2011 on Anti- Records. This is the Troy, New York-based singer/songwriter’s first album on Anti-, the album had been previously available on Collar City Records. Rowe’s brooding, soulful baritone has drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison.

- The opening track, “Surprise,” proves that the comparisons to Cohen are accurate. The humming drone and dark, pulsating beat lay the foundation for Rowe’s distinct vocals to sing about a love lost. His vocals have a great range, which is surprising for someone with pipes as distinct-sounding as his.

- The dark theme continues on the brooding “Night.” Yet again, Rowe’s vocals shine above the melancholy themes expressed in the lyrics. Don’t let the soft picking of his tender acoustic guitar fool you: this song is as darkly poetic as some of Warren Zevon’s work.

- “Jonathan” shows the promise of Rowe’s songwriting capabilities. Here, he describes witnessing a deadly accident and delves deep into the dark emotion of tragedy. The pace of the song is quicker and the vocals more audible than the earlier tracks. It is as if Rowe is speaking to someone who didn’t do all he could to save a friend’s life, and sings with such passion and conviction that makes it impossible to not to feel his pain.

Key Tracks:

“Time To Think,” “American,” “Wrong Side of the Bed”


Though a newcomer to a larger audience, Sean Rowe’s are remarkably confident and comfortable for a relative newcomer. With a distinct voice, excellent storytelling ability and songs that showcase the writer’s great potential, don’t be surprised to hear a lot more from this New Yorker in 2011 and be transfixed by his Magic.

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