Jeff Cowell - Lucky Strikes & Liquid Gold LP
(Numero Group, 2015)
"Cowell’s rollicking sophomore effort Lucky Strikes and Liquid Gold, was self-released in 1975 as a follow-up to his debut effort Plaint, also released that year. Until this February (2015), Lucky Strikes’ ten alluring tracks were coveted by a relatively sequestered audience, among the unscathed hinterlands and poorly lit country-western bars of his native Michigan. And as disconcerting as it is to note that more than four decades separate this record’s reissue and rediscovery from its initial conception, the time accumulated since Jeff Cowell recorded this album in Chicago’s now-defunct Snail 16 Track Studio has only saturated and nourished these songs for a new, auxiliary audience. His brilliant reintroduction, a venerable triumph salvaged from dilapidated pastimes, inspires resilience and unequivocal hope for lost sounds.
Cowell is a more than savvy storyteller, as adept at articulating his nomadic experience communing with the gnarled backwoods and rampant terrain of Northern Michigan as he is translating that feeling to a wider audience. Though most visual and aural relics of Lucky Strikes and Liquid Gold are absent in the digital age, its memory and physicality has been handed down and exchanged from person to person. But this reissue is more relevant and more vital to present-day Western culture, where strict subjection to time and the absolute devaluation of place has distorted our idea of what it means to be human. Jeff Cowell’s music lets the tide roll in slow and steady, allows the beautiful pomp and circumstance of life to make its way to him, rather than the other way around." - Angel E. Fraden for Indie Current