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Sean Rowe @ The Sanctuary at Pico-Union || July 7, 2017 || Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Sean Rowe @ The Sanctuary at Pico-Union || July 7, 2017 || Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

Los Angeles, CA- Earlier this year, Sean Rowe, the alternative folk troubadour with a baritone voice gifted by angels, released his fifth studio album, “New Lore”. Like his four prior albums, “New Lore” is an album imbued with a certain grace that makes you simply want to fall into its melodies and let your mind venture on a journey of personal introspection.

With songs like “Promise of You” and “I’ll Follow Your Trail”, New Lore’s lyrics are as heartfelt and personal as they come. Wearing headphones and listening to his playlist on Spotify, shutting out all extrinsic noises with only his resonant deep vocal tones in your ears, can be cathartic experience. Seeing him perform those songs, and others, live- in a church no less- IS a cathartic experience.

When I arrived at the venue, and looked up into the high church arches and at the stained glass windows,  I anticipated this concert to be a very intimate one. Knowing that Sean typically tours solo, I imagined that he, his acoustic guitar and harmonica would be resonating throughout the sacred space.

Prior to him taking the stage, I was hanging out front on the church steps smoking a cigarette. A friendly, talkative couple engaged me in excited conversation, and they freely professed their excitement for what was to come. They told me how they first learned of Sean Rowe when they heard his song “To Leave Something Behind” during the end credits of a movie that they had seen a while back. They waited until the soundtrack credits came up to find out who sang the song.  Ironically, they couldn’t recall the name of the movie, but they sure as heck remembered Sean Rowe, and went on and one about how much they were looking forward to the performance (ps. the name of the movie is “The Accountant” and it stars Ben Affleck).

When Sean made his way to the church’s ambo, his fans gave him a loud, boisterous greeting. But as soon as he plucked his first note and sang his first lyric, the room became still and attentive, hanging on every word and every emotion that Sean was laying bare. Even the friendly and talkative couple spoke nary a word during the length of his performance.

Apart from enjoying and reveling in his musicality, I feel like I learned a lot from Sean during his performance. On occasion between songs, he would mention a short thought which segued into the next song he performed. I learned that religion truly does run deep with Sean as he served as an alter boy in his youth and his mom was a nun. I learned that as much as he loved his music, he desperately missed his children while on tour. I learned that he’s a fan of Leonard Cohen (as he performed a fabulous cover of Cohen’s “Leaving The Table”).

But I think that the most important thing I learned from watching Sean perform his music is that in order to really take in a musician’s humanity is to see it done live. I love his music. His recordings are sublime. But watching him give life to his music, to bare his soul standing alone at the front of a church before a silent crowd sitting in pews with his veritably masculine voice yielding to vulnerability … that was a pretty amazing thing to behold. Hopefully, you’ll be able to experience that feeling at some point too.

Follow Sean Rowe on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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