Jonny Gowow shows us his ‘sweet’ side (first)

“I think it's something gay culture could use, but then again that's why I wrote it,” Murfreesboro musician Jonny Gowow wrote in an early April email. That singular line proved reason enough to listen to the attached single “Sweet Boy.”

And sweet it was. The track’s opening notes instantly transported me to a time known for its television theme songs before Gowow’s grinning, yet earnest delivery about his search for the one thing he “couldn’t lose in the darkest of nights” wrapped itself inside my head and began its extended stay.

“They're all songs about men, who love or are dealing with other men. Write what you know,” Gowow jokes. What he knows will soon be available for public consumption when Gowow releases his first full-length solo album Wide Stance next month.

Over its 14 tracks, the album finds Gowow genre-hopping and delivering his tales within the context and production that are most impactful. Love song, “Johnny Day,” unfolds within old-school country crooning with roots that are reminiscent of 70s pop.  “The old country feel was deliberate,” Gowow says. “I wanted to write a love song, and classic country is the most honest genre for that. But I also wanted to send a message to the country music community by writing a song that was solid, traditional, and expressed a man's love for another man.”

When pressed, Gowow admitted that he didn’t know if country music audiences were ready for a song like “Johnny Day.” “The only way to find out is to write them. Music has the power to transcend a lot of particular prejudices, and I hope that listeners will appreciate the music enough to overcome some of those personal biases.”

While Gowow already had this collection of tunes ready to go, he turned to Kickstarter in order to complete the mastering and pressing process. “Technology has done a lot to the musical world,” Gowow says. “It's provided a voice to a lot of people who wouldn't have had one otherwise, people who have had really interesting and important things to say.”

After successfully reaching his funding goal (plus a little bit more), Gowow now turns the project over to the audience. And although the album tells the stories of same-sex attractions, love and relationships, Gowow isn’t afraid of his reception. “I know that the subject material has the potential to limit my audience, but I don't think it will do so to a great extent. The music is good, and the messages can be related to by anyone. Besides, I wrote these songs for myself - if other people like them too, that's more than I could ever ask for.”

So what’s next for Jonny?  Aside from his educational goals (Gowow is working on his Master’s in French), he’s currently working on his record release show scheduled for Saturday, May 24 in Murfreesboro at Wall Street and booking shows in Nashville and the Southeast to promote the album.

And while Gowow is still searching for his sweet boy, fans may see a saltier side later this year. Gowow already has eight songs written for his next album. “You can expect a little more raunch on it,” the singer smiles.  Both sound good to us.

Photo Credit: Rachel Tenpenny of Brasspenny Photography



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