Sean Rowe, 'Magic' Man

-According to the biography on the website for musician Sean Rowe, the first thing people notice about him is his voice - and for good reason. I immediately picked out the sweet but gravely vocals on this month’s release from Rowe. His voice counters the delicate melodies while its raw qualities match up with honest lyrics in the style of Nick Cave, Tom Waits and Colin Hay.

Rowe released his album “Magic” this week on the Troy-based Collar City Records label. The label is lead by Saint Rose music industry alumn and area musician Matthew Loiacono along with musician Troy Pohl, who worked as a producer on “Magic.”

“I had known Troy Pohl [,,,] since he was 16 years old,” Rowe said. “We’ve always talked about doing a record together but it never materialized until about a year and half ago when we both had the time to do it and it just so happened to be when then were starting the label as well.”

Rowe, who started out playing in bands, has been a solo musician since the late 90s and has self-released one solo album prior to “Magic.” The album also features performances by locals Monica Wilson-Roach on cello, Adrian Cohen on piano, Danny Whelchel, Loiacono and Nic Fera on drums, Clarke Foley on upright bass and Cara-May Gorman providing the lush background vocals for the album.

“ It was sort of a collection of different area musicians,” Rowe said.

“The sound of the record is I think, if there’s any kind of theme, it’s just an openness, a feeling of freedom, a non-linear kind of sound,” Rowe said. “There’s not a lot of solos on it as far as instrumentation, it’s not like a jam record, its different, and that’s what we wanted, that’s what we were going for.”

The album is a nice ride, with ample space and a sense of warmth. The first single off the album is the song “Wrong Side of the Bed,” a driving uptempo song with a base, almost tribal sound and a subtle sense of whimsy. Another standout track is “Wet.” A more somber song with a slow build, “Wet” utilizes sparse, rhythmic instrumentation that beats faint but steady as if it were the broken heart he is singing about.

The songs on the album are built around variety, and have a pan-genre sound. Chances are, if you don’t like the sound of the first song you hear, there is another track to suit your taste.

Rowe will be celebrating the release of “Magic” at Bread and Jam Cafe on Remsen Street in Cohoes.

“It’s relatively new,” Rowe said. There’s not a lot of venues in Troy  - with the exception of maybe Revolution Hall - that are really promoting original music as a major feature of the venue. Bread and Jam is really trying to do that. The owner Sal is super supportive of local music and they really want to create something there. It’s a very inviting place, it’s accommodating and people dig it.”

After the release of “Magic,” Rowe plans to tour as much as possible to get the album out there while at the same time balancing his work as a wildlife teacher. Rowe teaches at schools like Hudson Valley Community College as well as nature centers like Thatcher Park.

“That might be a part of the tour,” Rowe said. “I might be setting up workshops and things like that along the tour. The two are obviously different things. I sort of do that [teaching] as a supplemental work that I really enjoy.”

The artwork for the album was created by artist Stefan Thomspon, who has had work featured all over Hudson Valley. Rowe met Thompson at wilderness survival school and was drawn to his artistic style.

“Just a brilliant artist. It’s a really a quality signature style that he has,” Rowe said.

Along with the album, Rowe will also have special edition buttons available at the show and as part of a ticket preorder sale at his website, “Magic” is a genuinely quality work of music, and those interested can find out more by visiting the website or coming to Bread and Jam Cafe in Cohoes Friday, April 24.