When I first moved to South Carolina, I was hungry to see the great local scene I’d heard about. Yet, all I saw was one earnest, sublime guitar-strumming songwriter after another. Each trying to be oh so likable and, between a song here and there, dropping an occasional, “How’s everybody doing?” I was getting bored. It started to scare me. I wondered if some players were actually cardboard cutouts on stage. I wondered if bands felt this was OK, and it worried me that music fans in South Carolina preferred this docile form of show.
Then, I stopped at the Windjammer one night in time to see Cowboy Mouth take a packed room and turn it into a raucous celebration. Every band member was in your face and lively, especially the big bear of a lead singer/drummer Fred LeBlanc, whose drum kit was uniquely positioned at the front edge of the stage.
I’d never heard of Cowboy Mouth before that night. The band is based in New Orleans, and their notoriety is firmly set it in the South, where they tour constantly.
So, I was not prepared to see audience members throw red spoons on stage during one song, shout along on another, and get low to the ground at the band’s behest toward the end.
Cowboy Mouth had control of the entire audience from the get go, and together they danced, jumped, shouted, drank, and celebrated the music. Even if you don’t know a single Cowboy Mouth song, as long as you like southern rock, punky pop, or rockabilly, you’re going to like this show. Heck, if you just need to blow off some steam or cut loose, the Windjammer is where you need to be Saturday.
This summer, the band released a new CD titled Go!. As LeBlanc says, “I look at an album as a tool for selling the Cowboy Mouth live experience.” While the live shows have the celebratory feel of religious revivals (if the religious aspect were replaced by alcohol), the CD is a damn fine collection of songs. Cowboy Mouth has been around for about 25 years, but the CD has the energy of youth coupled with some fine storytelling.
Wait, they’ve been around for 25 years? Yeah, that’s the truth. And they have more energy than 25-year-old musicians I see around town.
Check out this promo video they did for a 2012 show at the Windjammer.
Go see them. Don’t worry about picking up CDs before you get there. Remember which songs made you feel the best, buy the CDs those are on, and keep that Cowboy Mouth revival feeling going for a long time afterwards.
Again, it’s this Saturday at the Windjammer on Isle of Palms. Ticket price? Whatever—it’s worth it.