the Welterweight story...
Singer/songwriter Doug Cowan, born and bred in rural Maine, survived on K-Tel Hits albums until discovering his brother’s record collection in the early 80’s, which consisted mostly of early Neil Young and Elvis Costello vinyl. Adopting the apparent DIY attitude growing in underground music, he took two guitar lessons, ignoring everything but three barr chords, and promptly started a punk band without a name.
Meanwhile, British born John Nunan was touring Europe as singer for The Omega Party before relocating to the safety of Portland and making the mistake of a clandestine meeting with Cowan at the now-defunct Free Street Taverna for a strategic, long-term plan of of muddling through the Portland music scene.
Welterweight then pulled bassist Tom Kubasik out of musical retirement from years of a self-imposed pop music embargo, and then tried to fill him in on what had been happened over the past 15 years, an education which he is believed to have thankfully ignored. Kubasik then mentioned that he “had a friend”, almost always a troubling intro, in mandolin player Greg Bjork, a man lured to Portland by the prospect of being around other humans after having been living in the woods around Moosehead Lake.
The unit shut off the electricity in Doug’s living room, played, and found that they could hear the wood better, thus beginning the quest of writing and learning 200 songs. After 2 productive years, it was Greg’s turn to say “he had a friend”. After the instinctual bristling, enter Tess Gionet, a refugee from classical violin rigidity and expectations of competence. The band the advised her on the art of “not really knowing what we’re doing” and would point out the parts where she could play “less better”.
And this is how a Welterweight was made…the end?
What the press have said...
"Portland five-piece Welterweight in late August released a full-length, A Vida Blue Moon , an under-the-radar album that’s come as a very pleasant surprise to me... Though it’s nominally an Americana album, featuring emotive mandolin, acoustic guitar and violin splashed across a stripped down but effective blend of percussion and upright bass, it, in many ways, is almost a country album — well, alt-country, or maybe even outlaw country." - Culture Shock, Bangor Daily News
“Cowan sounds loose and confident, his voice is strong... Thank goodness that he can also write the knickers off a pop song...” - The Portland Press Herald
"Welterweight's "string 'n wood" lineup's A Vida Blue Moon is so consistently catchy that you won't even miss the electricity." -The Bollard, Portland, ME
“Welterweight’s rock and roll is taut and distilled... and Cowan’s songwriting is right where it needs to be... and they’re what a live band ought to be” - The Portland Phoenix
“Folk-rock outfit Welterweight may be better described as the well-accessorized solo project for singer-songwriter Doug Cowan... six terrific songs...” - Making Noise, Portland Press Herald
"...They’re an immensely talented string band that likes to mix in “new timey” elements of classic country, indie rock and 18th century baroque into their catchy originals and satisfying covers." - 8 Days a Week, Portland Phoenix
“...crunching, Crazy Horse-inspired “Remember The Maine”... ” - The Bollard