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Once Upon a Time ... - EP

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iTunes Review

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.

Customer Reviews

Loving them all..

I have followed Crystal since her days playing the L Stops in Chicago. Her music is so real. This EP takes me back to that time but with a little more energy. If you haven't heard her before - buy this. If you have heard her before - buy this. *This* is what music is all about - no artificial sweeteners or preservatives!!


Simply beautiful

An absolutely gorgeous EP. Stripped down, pure, heartfelt, and real... everything today's overproduced, artificial Top 40 crap today isn't. Lovely vocals, and hard hitting songwriting of the most autobiographical kind. I respect such honesty and candor so much in music, and know you will, too. Get to know Crystal's world, real world, through her songs. This collection will give you a window into Mamasox's soul in the days before her rise to fame on American Idol. Check it out.

Raw. Naked, Bowersox Magic

On the cover of this EP, Crystal writes: "We hope you'll enjoy the songs in all of their figuratively naked glory..."

Well, I loved that they were naked and not wrapped in overproduction.

Its Crystal and her bass player Frankie May in a studio in 2009. Crystals voice front and center without distractions....pure magic and true artistry.


Born: August 4, 1985 in Toledo, OH

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '10s

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...
Full Bio