Doobie Brothers bassist talks Nashville, “Newgrass” and Sadowsky basses
Exclusive video interview with FBPO’s Jon Liebman
August 19, 2016
Born in Minerva, OH, John Cowan began his musical career in Louisville, KY, playing in various rock bands in the early ‘70s. In 1974, he joined New Grass Revival, giving his career a dramatic rise. In this band, John, along with band mates Sam Bush, Courtney Johnson, Curtis Burch, and later, Bela Fleck and Pat Flynn, introduced a new generation of music fans to the “newgrass” sound.
As a bass player and singer, John became an in-demand session artist. His bass playing and/or singing can be heard on albums by Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Roseanne Cash, Steve Earle, Hootie & the Blowfish, Janis Ian, Alison Kraus, Delbert McClinton, Reba McEntire, Leon Russell, Mark O’Connor, Poco, John Prine, Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs, Travis Tritt, Hank Williams Jr., Wynonna, Zac Brown and many others.
From 1992 to 1995, John was a member of the Doobie Brothers, after having performed in the Sky Kings, a country rock band, which included Doobie Brothers guitarist Pat Simmons, as well as Rusty Young of Poco and Bill Lloyd of Foster & Lloyd. John left the Sky Kings in order to concentrate on his solo career, which included appearances at major festivals, like the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and North Carolina’s MerleFest. He has also released several critically acclaimed solo albums, including Sixty (2014), The Massenberg Sessions (2010), Comfort and Joy (2009), New Tatoo (2006), 8745 Feet: Live at Telluride (2005, re-released 2009), Always Take Me Back (2002) John Cowan (2000) and and Soul’d Out (1986).
While John has been back with the Doobies since 2010, he still performs to enthusiastic audiences with the John Cowan band as often as he can.
FBPO’s Jon Liebman caught up with John at a metro Detroit stop of the Doobie Brothers’ tour, which also featured Dave Mason and Journey.
John Cowan plays a Sadowsky bass.
Watch our interview with John!