Even before John Cowan joined up with Sam Bush, Bela Fleck and Pat Flynn to form the legendary New Grass Revival, the Evansville, Indiana-native was building a Nashville reputation as a vocalist. With New Grass, he helped establish a new genre of roots-based acoustic music that tied together the bluegrass of the '50s and '60s with the emerging Top-40 Country movement.
After Bush and Fleck left NGR in 1990, Cowan and Flynn also moved on, marking new territory as solo artists. Cowan's powerful voice made him a much in-demand performer as he returned to his country rock beginnings. After moving to the Sugar Hill label in the late '90s, Cowan's focus shifted more to acoustic music with a tradition bent. He formed a new band, changed labels (Pinecastle Records) and is out on the road in support of New Tattoo, a collection of powerful and personal songs produced by Jay Joyce - including "Misery & Happiness" with background vocals from Patty Griffin and "Drown," a song about child molestation that is drawn from Cowan's own experiences. He is out on tour with Jeff Autry (guitar), Shad Cobb (fiddle) and Tony Wray (banjo).