Meg Bitton Photography
When Crystal Bowersox takes the stage at the SeaGate Convention Centre Sunday night she will be in familiar surroundings under radically different circumstances.
She grew up playing Toledo bars, but the Elliston native and 2010 American Idol runner-up will be with a new band, test driving songs from her soon-to-be released second album, "All That For This" and piecing together a brand new set of material.
Added to her repertoire are the 12 songs from the new disc to be worked in among more familiar favorites such as "Holy Toledo" and "Farmer's Daughter." It wouldn't be a surprise if cover songs such as Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee" that were once live standards for Bowersox are shoved aside to make room for her new material.
She said in a phone interview that she is proud of the new songs, which will be released March 26 on the Shanachie label, due to the production provided by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and the fact that they reflect where she is now in her life.
"As far as making the kind of record I want to sit down and listen to, this is it," she said.
Berlin brought a relaxed approach to making the music in Portland where they both live and she was able to work on it with local musicians there while still maintaining her routine at home with her husband Brian Walker and 4-year-old son Tony.
"I slept in my own bed, I took my son to pre-school and I went to work," Bowersox said. "It was great to do it in a stress free way."
She also believes the quality of her voice has improved.
"I think the process that this record was made in was just little more low key and easy going and I was breathing better. I'm also not a cigarette smoker any more which helps."
"All That For This" is more stripped down than "Farmer's Daughter," which had a slicker sound, and she said it was much easier to make.
"In hindsight, I was a bit more hard-headed back then and I was combative on certain things and this has all been a maturing process," Bowersox said. "I'm really proud of ‘Farmer's Daughter.' I love the way it sounds and the way it turned out despite the differences that we had on things with the label and the production."
Another change that will be evident Sunday are the musicians with which she's playing. Her backing band is Monte Mar, a Los Angeles alternative pop group who also will be the opening act. Bowersox said it became expensive to fly Toledo area musicians to Portland to work, including her close friend and long-time musical partner bassist Frankie May.
She said May is scheduled to perform with her at the SeaGate Sunday and she hopes to record and play with him in the future.
Sunday's show at the 401 Jefferson Ave. arena is one of 14 dates scheduled on her spring tour. When it is finished she will perform in the Broadway production of Always... Patsy Cline in the lead role as the 1950s-era country music icon.
The show Sunday at 7:30 p.m. is a fund-raiser for the Toledo School for the Arts, which Bowersox attended throughout high school. Tickets are $37 and are on sale at the Huntington Center box office, 500 Jefferson Ave., www.ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets, and 1-800-745-3000. Prior to the concert, Bowersox will sing the National Anthem at the Toledo Walleye hockey game at the Huntington Center.
Contact Rod Lockwood at:firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6159.