Rocker Kevin Bowe writes for himself on ‘Natchez Trace’

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Image courtesy of Kevin Bowe, photo by Darin Back

Veteran Minnesota rock musican Kevin Bowe has given himself a gift. It’s a new album, of his own songs.

By any measure, the 51-year-old Bowe has had quite a successful music career. He plays guitar in Paul Westerberg’s band. He’s written songs which were included on multi-platinum albums by blues artist and North Dakota native Johnny Lang, and a Grammy winning record by blues legend Etta James. Bowe’s band, “The Okemah Prophets,” also serves as songwriter Freedy Johnston’s back-up group. Bowe’s songs have turned up in movies, TV shows, and soap operas. Lately he’s turned his talents to producing and mixing albums.

He’s spent so much time working with and for other artists, he hasn’t had any time for his own songcraft.

Bowe’s new album, “Natchez Trace,” which he’s releasing with a show tonight at the Varsity Theater alongside Alison Scott, puts him back in the spotlight as a songwriter and frontman. It’s his first album in ten years, and it features a star studded cast in supporting roles, including Freedy Johnston, fiddle player Scarlet Rivera, members of The Meat Puppets, Nels Cline of Wilco, Chuck Prophet, and Mr. Westerberg himself.

Bowe sat down with me for an extended interview about the somewhat unusual trajectory of his career. He spoke of the superstars he’s worked with, his feelings about being an outcast in his own Twin Cities music scene, and his overall satisfaction with what he’s accomplished so far.

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