Cowan to join The Doobie Brothers full time

John Cowan – The Cow, Johnny C, Cow Man – soaring tenor vocalist and newgrass superstar, has announced his decision to step aside from his solo artist and bandleading career, to become a full time member of The Doobie Brothers.

He has been filling in this summer with the Doobies, with whom he had performed regularly from the time Newgrass Revival disbanded in 1974  until 1990, while their regular bass man, Skylark, was recovering from a serious health concern. John had expected this to be a short-lived substitute gig, but with Skylark unable to return to the group, the job is returning to Cowan.

John finds his decision to be bittersweet. On the one hand, he had loved both his times with The Doobie Brothers, and saw the opportunity as a dream gig for a kid who grew up learning to sing their songs as a teenager. But on the other, stepping away from his bandmates and fans wasn’t easy.

“It’s very hard to let go of my band. These guys are so special to me – they really are like brothers – but over the past year, it’s become increasingly difficult to manage touring as a solo artist and balancing the Doobie’s schedule. It’s not fair for me to ask them to sit by and wait for my schedule to clear up, so I’m making an incredibly difficult decision to finish up the dates on our books and set my solo career to the side for now.

“But that doesn’t mean that one day we won’t revisit more touring. I don’t know when that day will come – if it ever will – but I love my fans and I love performing, so it’s certainly not out of the question.”

There will be one final hurrah for The John Cowan Band this fall, dubbed the American Idle Tour – which will stop in Annapolis, Warrenton, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Asheville and Aberdeen – and then it’s back to the Doobies full time.

For their part, The Doobie Brothers have a new CD just released, World Gone Crazy.

Congratulations to John for landing such a prestigous, and surely lucrative, gig. All your bluegrass/newgrass friends wish you well.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.