Brent Cowles: How To Be Okay Alone (Brent Cowles Music/Dine Alone Music)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Dynamite. That’s my first thought. This is some very compelling music. I was just looking for new music and I came across “How To Be Okay Alone”. Normally, I will listen to a few bars of each track and then pass it on to the “To Be Reviewed” folder. I didn’t do that this time. I listened from start to finish. Then I went back for another round. I was just wanting to hear the next note. When the album ended, I had no choice but to to rewind. 
Brent’s voice is a cross between Paul Simon, Erika Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards),  and Van Morrison. Maybe a few octaves higher than Van, but just the same amount of soul. A little bit rock and soul, and a little bit country. A very good mix of fast and slow and happy and sad. Brent slices and dices it up with expert precision. All of the songs are well written and well constructed. 
Places (Track 9) is one of those tracks that made me freeze in place. The beginning is so powerful and strong that it just holds you and draws you in. Then at 1:18, the song completely changes from 100% minimalist to only 70% minimalist. That transition between empty space and full on assault is absolutely brilliant.    
Brent’s voice taps into emotions that must have laid dormant for years. Those senses are very much alive now. He can sing a very upbeat number or excel on a sad country crooner like Fly On (Track 6). This lovely sad country number starts out with a beautiful vocal performance by Brent and his co-vocalist. The lead and backing vocals are intertwined turning two voices into one super strong powerful voice. 
Another song with stellar vocals, both lead and backing is the opening track, The Fold (Track 1). This song does a wonderful job of mixing elements of country, psychedelia, and pop.  The Fold commences with music and vocals that display very strong pop leanings. Having said that, I still like it quite a bit. The production is great and the mix is superb. I have written it before about other artists and I will write it again, “If all pop music sounded something like this, the world would be a better place. Certainly pop music would benefit greatly. 
When Brent wrote the statement “How To Be Okay Alone”, it was meant as more of a coping exercise. The album and the concept was borne out of that simple yet very complex statement. One thing is certain, this album will ensure that all who listen will be okay alone. 
Listen to How To Be Okay Alone
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