Crystal Bowersox returns to the area for a concert Saturday night a busy woman, balancing motherhood, prepping for a Broadway run as Patsy Cline, and dealing with the vagaries of being a working musician on the road.
One of the role models for navigating this labyrinth of responsibility, commitment, and creativity is the late great country star she will portray hopefully sometime later this year.
“I didn’t realize we had so much in common in our personal lives,” Bowersox said of Cline, who died in 1963 at the age of 30.
“She dealt with the guilt and stress of being a mom on the road and being away from her children and family. She really had a hard time with that, but she knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life and career and sadly she left us far too soon.
“I love the fact that she was the first person to wear pants at the Grand Ol Opry. That’s a ballsy broad and I have a lot of respect for what she stood for. She was way ahead of her time.”
Bowersox, 29, is set to play the lead role in the Broadway production of Always... Patsy Cline. The opening was announced for this summer, but it has been delayed due to script changes and problems with finding a venue.
“The ball is still rolling” and she said she is scheduled to go to New York later this month for a script reading.
“The time line is up in the air. They had announced it, I wouldn’t say prematurely, but I just kind of wish maybe they hadn’t announced a time line,” Bowersox said in a phone interview. “There have been some script rewrites and I love the new script. It’s improved from the original version.”
Meantime, the Elliston, Ohio, native who will be at the Monroe County Community College La-Z-Boy Center on Saturday, is touring regularly, playing songs from her 2013 album “All That For This,” and occasionally playing new songs that she is working on for an upcoming album. She also plans to record an original Christmas song to be released at the holiday season.
One of the challenges is hitting the road without Tony, her 5-year-old son, who stays behind in Portland, Ore., where they live. He is cared for by a nanny when his mom tours.
“I feel like stability is really important for him to be with his friends and in one place,” she said. “There’s a fine balancing act in there. I miss him like crazy and it’s tough to be away from him, but he’s doing all right.”
Bowersox recently divorced her husband, Brian Walker, a singer/songwriter and actor who she stills talks to regularly.
“It was a rough patch and he’s still my best friend. I call him every day and he’s doing well. He’s moved to Los Angeles and he’s doing his own thing and it’s all good there,” she said.
One of the songs that the 2010 American Idol runner-up has worked into her sets is a cover of “Hallelujah,” a Leonard Cohen song she performed in March at the SeaGate Convention Centre. Her version was sublime as she sang it accompanied only by a piano.
She was asked about finding the emotional center of that song and what she experiences when she sings it.
“I feel like every time I cover it there’s a different quality to it. But now I’m doing it with a full band and we’re taking it to church. Leonard Cohen is an amazing songwriter and I knew I was taking a risk by doing the song because it’s been done by so many people and some of my favorite versions of it are tough to beat. But then I thought about it again and there is no competition, just the way I want to express it creatively.
“It’s one of the best songs ever written and there have been moments when I’m singing the song and I reach a place I don’t get to with any other song as far as my connectedness to the spirit or God or whatever you want to call it. There’s definitely a higher power that I feel flows through me when I’m in the zone.”
Crystal Bowersox will perform at the Monroe County Community College La-Z-Boy Center Meyer Theatre on Saturday night. Music starts at 7:30. Tickets are $27 and some remain available at monroeccc.edu/theater/ or by calling 734-384-4272.
Contact Rod Lockwood at email@example.com or 419-724-6159.