Once Upon a Time ... - EP by Crystal Bowersox on Apple Music

5 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Those who followed Crystal Bowersox on the ninth season of American Idol learned some of her backstory as a struggling singer growing up in rural Ohio. Her EP Once Upon a Time… offers a glimpse of these early years in unadorned but telling fashion. Accompanied by guitarist Frankie May, she fills these tracks (recorded before her time as an AI contestant) with a blend of vulnerability and inner strength that transcends the barebones nature of the studio setting. Bowersox shows a remarkable confidence in the delivery of her tunes, whether she’s reaching out to an estranged parent (“Mama”) or struggling to escape hard times (“Get Me Out”). The bluesy ambiance of “Slut” and the jazzy seasoning of “Outta My Mind” show her ability to stretch the limits of her folk-country sound. Her willingness to expose her scars and bruises especially comes through on her tender performance of “Baby.” Once Upon a Time… doesn’t take the place of a newly recorded Bowersox project, but anyone curious about her beginnings will find these songs a revelation.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Those who followed Crystal Bowersox on the ninth season of American Idol learned some of her backstory as a struggling singer growing up in rural Ohio. Her EP Once Upon a Time… offers a glimpse of these early years in unadorned but telling fashion. Accompanied by guitarist Frankie May, she fills these tracks (recorded before her time as an AI contestant) with a blend of vulnerability and inner strength that transcends the barebones nature of the studio setting. Bowersox shows a remarkable confidence in the delivery of her tunes, whether she’s reaching out to an estranged parent (“Mama”) or struggling to escape hard times (“Get Me Out”). The bluesy ambiance of “Slut” and the jazzy seasoning of “Outta My Mind” show her ability to stretch the limits of her folk-country sound. Her willingness to expose her scars and bruises especially comes through on her tender performance of “Baby.” Once Upon a Time… doesn’t take the place of a newly recorded Bowersox project, but anyone curious about her beginnings will find these songs a revelation.

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About Crystal Bowersox

Taking cues from her favorite songwriters -- including Melissa Etheridge, Janis Joplin, and Sista Otis -- Crystal Bowersox brought a relaxed, folksy vibe to the ninth season of American Idol. Although she auditioned for the show in Chicago, Bowersox grew up five hours east in Elliston, Ohio, a small town with fewer than 100 residents. She began writing songs as a ten-year-old and, by her early teens, had formed a band with her brothers. Dubbed "Oldinuph" -- a name that poked fun at their own adolescence -- the siblings played shows throughout Ottawa County for several years, with Bowersox writing most of their original material. She eventually moved to Chicago at the age of 17, looking to pursue her career in a bigger city.

Bowersox spent five years in Chicago before moving back home to give birth to her son, Tony. She continued performing in local venues, though, and auditioned for American Idol during a weekend trip to Chicago in 2009. Although her blonde dreadlocks and earthy vocals made her a rarity among most Idol contenders, Bowersox quickly became an audience favorite, breezing through each round of the competition with performances of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Me and Bobby McGee," and other rootsy songs. Following Siobhan Magnus' elimination in early May, Bowersox was the only female contestant left, and she eventually finished as the runner-up to American Idol champion Lee DeWyze. Her debut album, Farmer's Daughter, appeared later that year.

Farmer's Daughter received a standard post-Idol media push, but the album failed to turn into a hit. The following year, RCA Records went under a restructuring that left Bowersox without a label. In 2012, she signed with Shanachie Records, and the label teamed her with producer Steve Berlin (best known as a member of Los Lobos). The resulting record, All That for This, showed up in March of 2013. The next year, she issued the Promises EP. Her third album, Alive, arrived in the summer of 2017. ~ Andrew Leahey

  • ORIGIN
    Toledo, OH
  • BORN
    Aug 4, 1985

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