Bowe was born Boudewijn de Jong in the town of Velp in The Netherlands. Velp is part of the Gelderland province in Holland and here’s an interesting historical tidbit about Gelderland taken straight from Wikipedia: ‘Historically, the province dates from states of the Holy Roman Empire and takes its name from the nearby German city of Geldern. According to the Wichard saga, the city was named by the Lords of Pont who fought and killed a dragon in 878 AD. They named the town they founded after the death rattle of the dragon: “Gelre!”‘ Yes, friends, the province of Gelderland is named after a proper dragon-slaying! Pretty awesome.
Bowe’s bio, Bowe “started playing the piano at a very young age. When he was a teenager, the piano was replaced by a guitar.” There’s a trope here about Bowe playing a right-handed guitar that his friend owned even though he was clearly left-handed. This is maybe something similar to what Joni Mitchell ran into. Joni suffered from polio as a child and the effects remained to the point where she couldn’t really hold a guitar the same way other people could. It forced her to play it in her own way since that’s the only way she could physically play it. Well, we all know the rest of the story with how she came up with interesting chords and sounds that still resonate with her listeners. Bowe seems to have similarly forged his own path on the instrument, as he turned his friend’s right-handed guitar upside down in order to comfortably play it, and he refused to get lessons to learn. Instead, he just did his best with what he had and that gave him an edge.
The new single, “Tired of giving good things up,” is a song that could have been recorded at Memphis’ Sun Records back in the 50s, where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash all got their start under producer Sam Phillips. The bass on Bowe’s tune is straight out of that period in rock ‘n’ roll. It’s very fine bass playing, doing a lot of walking, filling in that bottom end with all kinds of scale runs and arpeggios. The production, in general, is economical, to the point where things never seem busy, and at the same time one never really feels like there’s something missing. We start out with the rock rhythm section, with the start being the great fender tube sound on the rhythm guitar. This builds up the track well as Bowe shoots off his verses, and there’s a unique distortion effect on his vocal which really gives it a garage-rock-type push. Bowe is a fine rock leadman, up there with the Jaggers and Murphys of the world. His vocal is the proper mix of blues technique and rock style, and I’m sure it’s one of the big reasons behind his continuing success as a solo artist. And the claps on the track? Classic girl-group, surf-rock level handclaps! They were obviously done much justice during the recording process, and rightly so! The tune moves onto the chorus with some more rhythm guitar dubs, as well as a fine saloon-style upright rhythm piano, and some sparse hammond organ sustained chords in the mix. The sound engineer/producer obviously knows his rock-combo sound.
This a great, summer hit and just in time to be played while you slug down some cold ones as your buddies prep the meat for the bbq. Always looking forward to more from the beautiful Netherlands scene!