Crystal Bowersox came through Kenosha, Wisconsin last night October 18 on a tour that will eventually take her to Broadway where she'll play Patsy Cline in the production "Always, Patsy Cline". It's been just a few short years and two albums since Bowersox was the runner up on Season 9 of American Idol, a show that holds a polarizing place in pop culture to some, but every so often it has been the perfect vehicle to expose the world to truly brilliant talent. In my opinion, not since Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood has there been a contestant more deserving than Crystal Bowersox of being elevated to the next level of her music career by the exposure afforded by being an American Idol contestant.
Crystal is on tour supporting her most recent release on Shanachie Records titled, "All That For This," and while it's her sophomore release since Idol, it feels like a fresh start for Bowersox. Anna Rose opened the show and "Los Angeles" was definitely the highlight of her set. Full of muscle, grit, power and charm, Rose performed the song after she, in her words, took a moment to "Tune in the key of rock." Rose was a refreshing voice to hear in the opening slot and won over some new fans last night from the sound of the applause in the room. Be sure to check out Anna's Facebook page for upcoming performances, she's one to watch.
Bowersox and her band really started to get into the groove during the fourth song of the night, "Movin' On," after which the elated singer assured the crowd, "That's fun," and let out a chuckle from the stage. The set was heavy on new material with some select cuts from "Farmer's Daughter" and some choice covers that gave some insight and reflection to Crystal's musical tastes. Other highlights from last night included, "I Am," "Get Me Out," which included a brilliantly intense guitar solo, and a rollicking cover of "Last Dance With Mary Jane." Most of the band then left the stage for a song leaving Crystal to perform "Mine All Mine" with clarinet accompaniment. Crystal told the crowd, "This is a song I wrote for my ex-husband. He wasn't my ex when I wrote it." It was a beautiful rendition and the crowd, pretty much a sold out showing, gave Crystal a thunderous round of applause.
Crystal then gave us a glimpse into the future and played a brand new song, "A little taste of the next record," she told the Kenosha crowd, and said it was Maia Sharp co-write. Bowersox didn't give us the name of the tune, but it was a great tease into what a third album might sound like. Next up was "Dead Weight," the lead single from "All That For This," and it was a stand out performance in the set, really resonating the emotive power that Bowersox has inside her and displayed the gift she has for song crafting. You can view the official video for the track at YouTube.
"Forgiveness is a very powerful thing," Bowersox told the crowd about "Farmer's Daughter," the title track from her debut. It was a cathartic moment and an emotionally stirring rendition. Up next was a song for Crystal's son, titled "Stitches." A couple songs later Bowersox told the crowd, "I've reached a point in my life where I'm grateful for all the shitty things that have happened to me." She went on to clarify, "It's helped to make me who I am, and I just want to say thank you." Crystal went on to perform "Amen For My Friends," a wonderful tribute to those who help us get by everyday.
"Holy Toledo," and "Till The Whiskey's Gone," wrapped up the set. "I wrote this song in Chicago in a freezing cold garage in the dead of winter," Bowersox told us before "Till The Whiskey's Gone," and the high energy song was a great choice to end the show. The band left the stage, and Bowersox, visibly overwhelmed by the crowd's standing ovation just took a minute to take it all in, the gratitude and appreciation of the moment evident in her smile. A few moments later the band rejoined Bowersox on stage and after a heartfelt and moving "Hallelujah," Crystal and her band performed "Me And Bobby McGee," one of the songs that really solidified her finalist spot in American Idol. Bowersox gave her all for the truly sublime performance, hitting all the gutsy and risky notes that elevate the song beyond a mere cover of the Kris Kristofferson classic. Bowersox has really made this song her own, it's up there with Janis Joplin's rendition as one of the best I've ever heard.
Crystal Bowersox continues her Broadway Bound tour into December and tour dates, ticket information and merchandise can be found at her official website. You can also like Crystal's Facebook page and follow her on Twitter. You can pick up Crystal's latest CD "All That For This" at Amazon or on iTunes.