RJ Cowdery is prepping to release her sixth recording. Titled What If This Is All There Is, the disc drops on May 17th. But first, for those not yet familiar with Cowdery, a bit of background on the artist in question:
RJ Cowdery is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist from Columbus, Ohio. A self-labeled late bloomer, she has been writing songs and winning awards for decades now but only recently decided to focus on performing full-time. Her signature sound is a mixture of multiple musical genres including Americana, country, and folk.
What If This Is All There Is
On this unassuming yet exceptional album about change, loss, and life, Cowdery leads the way on acoustic guitar and vocals. She adds: “I was really lucky to have had the help of these amazing players and singers” including Thomm Jutz (acoustic and electric guitar), Mark Fain (upright bass), Lynn Williams (drums and percussion), Jen Gunderman (keys), Justin Moses (banjo, fiddle, and mandolin), Ingrid Graudins, Melissa Greener, and producer Amy Speace (harmony vocals).
Track by track
The ten-track album opens on “Somewhere a Place.” It’s a nice opening complete with touchingly truthful observations and common references.
The second selection, “What If This Is All There Is,” poses a significant and perhaps (for some) even unsettling question. It certainly earns its rank as the title track.
Next is “Secrets Of My Dreams.” This one almost comes off as a lullaby. Whether it was intentional or happily accidental, it works.
Things then pick up just a wee bit with “Broken Wheel.” Her signature sound and themes remain consistent.
“Don’t Give Up” is a solid halfway marker on this personalized journey.
“Is There Time” is another aural inquiry. It is yet another example of what Cowdery can do as a songwriter.
“Shotgun Rider” is admittedly an almost expected song considering the genres in which Cowdery works. It’s a near prerequisite for any gal with a guitar and yet it plays well because it reminds the listener that she knows how to compose award-winning songs.
“Girl In The War” is the only non-Cowdery cut included here. It’s her own adaptation of a song by Josh Ritter. She makes it her own.
“Get Out Of Here” is still another track that provides both a smile and a tear within the details of another tuneful tale.
Somehow “Lost and Found” would seem out of place anywhere else on this platter. It just seems to work so well as the closing cut as it musically makes some final pertinent points.
Cowdery confirms her new CD is “a conversation of change and loss and, ultimately, how I am dealing with life here in the middle.” She notes that her goal was to make a record that was “simple and real.” It appears she has succeeded.
Overall, this album is an audio offering of honest, simple yet sometimes stunning songs. Her playing is sharply effective and her vocals are soft and a pleasure to listen to as well. So be sure to check out RJ Cowdery’s What If This Is All There Is before you “Get Out Of Here.”