Scene & Heard

NOTEBOOK: Cowsills planning for New Orleans Jazz Fest

You almost need a scorecard to keep up with the musical Cowsill family.
The Cowsills – with three of the original seven siblings – are playing at Jazz Fest in New Orleans this April. They’re best known for their late ’60s hits ”Hair,” ”Love American Style” and ”The Rain, The Park & Other Things.”
A fourth sibling, John Cowsill, has been The Beach Boys’ drummer for the last 20 years or so.
”I have a couple of other cousins and family members who are in bands,” said Jason Cowsill, whose dad, Bob, is one of the founding members of The Cowsills. ”I’d say just about anybody who has this name is probably related to us.”
Jason and his wife, Jackie Jae, who live in Eugene, were performing an acoustic show for a packed house at Saginaw Vineyard on Friday night, Jan. 31. They said they expect Bob to make his fourth annual Saginaw appearance with them in September.
For now, Jason and Jackie are scaling back from their busy playing schedule to focus on their upcoming album. ”We’ve spent most of the winter sick,” Jackie said. ”We had to cancel six shows. I’ve never had to do that before.”
She sounded more than healthy during her rendition of ”Jolene,” then, in perhaps the highlight of the evening, she ended the show with a riveting version of ”Me and Bobby McGee.”
”I used to be in a band where I impersonated Janis Joplin,” Jackie said. ”So everybody realized I wasn’t too bad at this.”
As always, Jason and Jackie kept the crowd entertained with their friendly banter between songs.
”We talk with everybody,” Jason said. ”I’d get in trouble when I was in bands. I’d say ‘I’m bonding with the audience.’”
Their next show is at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Oakshire Brewing Public House in Eugene.
Enjoyed listening to ”Homemade,” a self-made CD by Creswell resident Peter Riley Osborne and his band, the Truckstop Handshakes. Riley Osborne, who has been playing guitar for rising country music star Gretchen Owens of Grants Pass, shows his serious side on the album, and he shows his other side, too.
On ”Alright This Time,” inspired by a close friend’s tragic loss, Riley Osborne wanted to let his two little girls know that they could always hear daddy say it was all right, even after he’s gone.
Then there’s the track ”Intermission: White Russians & Tater Tots,” which sounds like a guitar jam during the middle of a little party. Odd? Certainly, but somehow … it works! Besides, how can you go wrong with a name like White Russians & Tater Tots?
Some of the other tracks are pretty tasty, too. ”Grace,” ”Sheriff” and ”Fort” offer up a sampling of Riley Osborne’s versatility as a rock ‘n’ roller who plays soulful blues and a little funk as well.
You know it’s good when it’s ”Homemade.”
If you love watching amazing music videos, and you haven’t yet discovered Playing for Change … you need to carve out some time on your nightly YouTube schedule. Founded in 2002 by Mark Johnson and Whitney Kroenke, Playing for Change is a movement created to inspire and connect the world through music. Their focus is to capture musicians performing in their natural environments for a video series called ”Songs Around the World.”
It’s quite a treat seeing musicians from around the world – many of them street musicians – playing our favorite songs. Go to if you’re interested in becoming part of the movement.



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