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Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Music Misc.

FoWal 2 SoWal - Concert Previews - Cadillac Willy, Nic Cowan, Biscuit Miller

The Mike Veal Band

Thursday, May 24; 7-9 p.m.

Village Green, Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, Destin

(850) 650-2226

“You name it, they WILL play it!” Veal and company challenge you to stump the band during this installment of the 16th Annual Concerts in the Park, an outdoor concert series featuring a variety of music including jazz, blues, classic rock, country, Motown, reggae, R&B, golden oldies, and tribute show bands. Bring your favorite lawn chair, wine and picnic. Or grab eats prepared onsite by Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Outback Steakhouse or Jim N’ Nicks Bar-B-Q. Admission is $8 per adult or $15 per couple. Concert parking is adjacent at Grace Lutheran Church. All concerts are FREE for Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation members and children under 12. More info at www.mattiekellyartsfoundation.org

Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s “An Evening at the Movies”

Sunday, May 27; 7:30 p.m.

Alys Beach Amphitheatre

(850) 269-7129

Enjoy favorites from the soundtracks of Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter and more at this concert under the palms. The concert ends with a “bang”— an awesome fireworks finale. Food vendors and cash bar available throughout the evening. Patrons are encouraged to bring low back chairs for comfortable seating. For more info, email events@alysbeach.com.

Biscuit Miller & the Mix

Wednesday, May 30; 7-9 p.m.

Village of Baytowne Wharf, Sandestin

(850) 267-8186

One of the funkiest bass players around. Award-winning musician Miller and his band bring a flavorful mix of funk, blues and old school rock and soul. Enjoy a pipin’ hot Biscuit at Baytowne Wharf’s FREE Wednesday Night Concert Series.

Emerald Gold

Thursday, May 31; 7-9 p.m.

Village Green, Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, Destin

(850) 650-2226

The Concerts in the Park series welcomes back this crowd-pleasing classic rock/R&B/Motown band. More info at www.mattiekellyartsfoundation.org.

Cadillac Willy

Saturday, June 2; 7-10 p.m.

HarborWalk Village, Destin

(850) 424-0600

Who is better qualified to Rock the Docks than the 2011-12 Beachcomber Music Award winning jam band? Patrick, Clayton and the guys get better every time we see ‘em, and they’ve been around a long time. FREE and open to the public.

Nic Cowan

Wednesday, June 6; 7 p.m.

Seaside Amphitheater

(850) 231-5424

Many young musicians have parents who are less than supportive when artistic aspirations are announced. It’s understandable. After all, becoming a doctor, lawyer or accountant are safe career bets. Donning a guitar, writing songs and pounding on club doors for gigs? Not so much. But Nic Cowan never had that worry. When the native Texan and transplanted Atlantan decided to get serious about his musical career, he turned to the professional musician he knew best—his dad, a drummer who regularly gigged with folk, country and jazz ensembles. As an aspiring frontman and solo artist, the younger Cowan wanted dad’s ideas on what it would take to be successful. And dad, who’d played behind more than a few frontmen—good, bad and indifferent—was more than happy to lay aside his sticks to drop some wisdom.

“He said the key is to be completely original,” Cowan recalls. “Don’t do something that people can categorize easily. You want them not to be able to put a label on you. You can be an amazing singer, amazing player, amazing songwriter, but if you sound like something that’s already out there, then you’re not going to get far.”

Cowan clearly took that advice to heart. His Southern Ground debut, Hard Headed, is winsomely crowd pleasing but unclassifiable—neatly mixing southern rock, country, soul and R&B without being hewing to any single style. Cowan’s gritty, soulful voice— redolent of whiskey, cigarettes and dues paid—completes the package, announcing the arrival of an artist ready for bigger stages.

Cowan’s songs are designed to spark a good time. In songs like “Gutter Song,” “Wrong Side” and the title track, his bad boy persona comes through loud and clear. But the approach is seasoned with a humorous wink and is interspersed with heartfelt, laid-back cuts like “I Won’t Let Go” and “Reno.” While it’s sure to spark audience singalongs, it’s not calculated in the slightest As Cowan sings in “New Shit”: “Let me set this straight from the start/I don’t do this so I get on the charts.”

It’s an attitude still carrying Cowan today. Despite the opportunity a record deal represents, he’s considered himself a success from the moment he was able to leave his day jobs (and night jobs) behind and play music full time. In fact, the building that now houses his record label and management company was, in a prior incarnation, the prime destination for the UPS trucks he loaded. It’s a compact picture of how far his talent—and hard-headedness—has brought him already.

Seaside’s Summer Concert Series is sponsored in part by Barefoot BBQ.