It’s quite easy these days to find new music from emerging artists, and this is due to the rise of services such as iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud, but how often do you find something with raw authenticity? Well… this week’s Staff Pick includes the folk-blues singer/songwriter Tarq Bowen.
With a vintage twist on modern songwriting, Bowen’s nomadic lifestyle over the last few years has resulted in him touring New York, Ireland and Berlin. With comparisons to classic music icons such as Jim Morrison and Jeff Buckley, it’s no surprise that BBC Introducing have taken a shine to this rising star. This young talent has also previously recorded a track with Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason. He’s even been involved in a sold out night where an orchestra backed him as a part of The Coveryard sessions. Exciting, yet it’s to be expected from an aspiring musician that has played over 1000 shows by this point in his early life.
Bowen says, “Music was my therapy and my father, my access to a dimension outside the distractions and normal conventions of childhood. Looking back, I wonder if I was already distracted by life on the farm… and festivals, seeing how that’s not everyday life for the city kid I later became.”
‘Rise With The Sun’ is a country-blues-folk masterpiece that highlights what Tarq Bowen is all about. With sliding guitar parts and an old school sound, this certainly isn’t one of your everyday pop songs, but regardless, there is definitely something special about this track that appeals to the masses. Bowen’s gritty raw vocal tone and harmonies are otherworldly; and this reflects in his style of performing, which is great because of the fact that it almost sounds like you are in the same room together. His mesmerising guitar playing is on equal ground to the singing, and pushes its way into the track with no mercy for being left in the background. Bowen is a storyteller from our time; but as an alternative belief, he is a man from a time that we have long forgotten.
“This particular track was an epiphany for me. ’Rise With The Sun’ was love and anger expressed in a poem, and then a song. It’s simply a song celebrating the fact that we wake up to another day with or without time, together with or without love. I was with a hot-blooded Irish woman, who was 13 years older than me. It was an ode to her and the experience shared between two people who could have been born at the wrong time!” – T. Bowen.
‘Vagabond Hide’ is another popular track from Bowen’s debut EP Rise With The Sun. Featuring a dark ambience that has skillfully been created using a minimalist set-up (guitar and piano alongside vocals); this is another recommendation for the books. With church-like acoustics in the mix, this hauntingly sung tune plays on the idea of keeping the listener engaged. It’s easy to imagine feeling intense from the experience of watching this being performed in a live environment. The middle of the track introduces a climax that takes everything away from this eerie Folk ballad though, and adds a surge of energy in the form of Bowen’s roaring vocal style and wild guitars that have become a part of his identity as a favoured musician. I admit this unfortunately isn’t a track for the mainstream radio stations, but it does show real potential in showcasing what Tarq Bowen can someday become, an icon for the aspiring musician.
Developing a sound that works on the concept of being a one-man act, Bowen will undoubtedly have the audience wanting more with his current and future material.