The Daily Gleaner
Fredericton, NB - Thursday, January 14/99
by Ann Ingram

SATURDAY, Gowan's in town. Because of his willingness to move with the times and adapt his sound to meet the expectations of audiences, Gowan has been dubbed a ''musical survivor.'' Gowan, who will be performing at the Dock Pub this Saturday, is admired and respected, not only for his undisputed talent but for his determination to always give 100 per cent of himself to concert-goers. Whether he is playing at a folk festival, as part of a symphony orchestra's concert series or in a Maritime pub, this pianist/singer/songwriter presents a show that is polished, professional and personal.

Born in Scotland, Gowan came to Canada at a young age. Something of a prodigy, he was accepted right after high school into the classical music performance program at the prestigious Royal Conservatory of Music. However, after graduation, Gowan decided he didn't want to become the next Glenn Gould. In 1976 he joined the Toronto-based pop band Rhinegold. After going solo in the early eighties, he crafted a keyboard-based, techno-pop sound that brought him to the attention of a major record label. His first album, titled simply Gowan, was released in 1982. Unfortunately, as the performer himself has been quoted as saying, ''it didn't set the world on fire.'' Nevertheless, Gowan kept plugging away. His second album Strange Animal, (1985) sold close to 300,000 units and garnered two Juno awards. Since that time, the diminutive rocker has toured extensively in Canada and overseas, produced seven more albums, earned numerous awards and reinvented himself as least a couple of times.

Once renowned for his video-driven pop hits and no-holds-barred arena productions, he now prefers to present intimate, scaled-down solo shows which place more emphasis on both the performer and his material. As a soloist, Gowan is free to display his keyboard skills as well as amazing vocal talent and, he says, one of the benefits of performing solo is the connection he is able to make with his audience. He can, and does, respond instantly to requests from fans and, thanks to his extensive repertoire of hits, he often adapts his program to suit the crowd. This isn't as easy as it sounds. Many seasoned performers find it difficult, if not impossible, to deviate from a set program while others need glitzy theatrical trappings to help them put a song across. Not Gowan -- this guy can walk out onto a bare stage in a place and immediately captivate his listeners.

On Saturday night, Gowan will perform songs from his latest album, a compilation entitled Best Of. Gowan's single Diana, Queen of Hearts, which he wrote in 1997 as a tribute to the late princess, sold out. The musician donated all the proceeds to the Diana Memorial Fund.

   
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