Music » Critics' Picks

Susan Cowsill

7 p.m. Friday, July 15. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.

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The most remarkable quality of Susan Cowsill's 40-plus-year career is its sanity. A child performer with the Cowsills — the fabled Partridge Family-inspiring clan band — Susan Cowsill should have burned out or flipped out, sunk into kitsch or nostalgia or just faded away like so many other bubblegum, one-pop wonders. Instead, she's just gone on singing with that ineffable tone — part country, part pop, all soul — and patiently releasing solo records steeped in the spirit of her home, New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina took much of what she loved, including her brother Barry. But her poignant take on rock and soul is never mournful, even at its most elegiac, as on the song "Crescent City Sneaux." She's a survivor who knows what to do with her musical gifts: share them with her audience with joy.

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