Singer and songwriter Sean Rowe's rather astonishing singing voice evokes the sound of the ages. His big rumbling baritone bears traces of John Lee Hooker, Greg Brown, Wilson Pickett, and others, though it is utterly unaffected. Rowe hails from Troy, New York. In his teens he discovered the blues of Muddy Waters and Hooker as well as the soul music of Marvin Gaye and Ray Charles. He began playing guitar and learning songs by virtually every artist he admired — and then some. By the time he began playing the local bar scene at 18, he had amassed enough original and cover material to perform four one-hour sets per night.
Also during his teen years, Rowe encountered the book The Tracker by naturalist Tom Brown, and it deeply influenced his thinking. He was already drawn to the woods and spent a great deal of time investigating the landscape around his home, but his passion for the wild grew; it influenced not only his thinking, but his songwriting. He attended Brown's Wilderness Survival School, and began to write more of his own material. He left the local bar scene at 25 a seasoned warrior, and self-released his debut, 27, in 2003.
Rowe began to tour, eventually winning an opening slot on Noah and the Whale's 2010 British jaunt. When at home, he continued his deep philosophical and physical investigation of the natural world. He went to live at Hawk Circle Wilderness Education (an outdoor survival school) for an entire year. Spending the year in the wild culminated in a 24-day solo survival quest, living completely outside and off the land for the entire period. That experience provided the impetus for the songs on Magic, which was released by Anti- in 2011 and was greeted with nearly universal acclaim. The Salesman and the Shark, his sophomore effort for the label, appeared in August of 2012.
Looking to explore a sunnier sound, Rowe returned in 2014 with his eclectic fourth album, Madman, which found the singer dabbling with pop and bluesy rock along with brooding folk. For his fifth release, Rowe took control of the whole process, crowdfunding the recording and releasing the album via his own label, Three Rivers, while striking a licensing deal with his former label, Anti-. The resulting New Lore was issued at the beginning of 2017. ~ Thom Jurek