COWBOY X – Can’t Stop Rockin’ (2019)
Including ex- members of Nebraska rock bands Airstrike and Blitz’n, COWBOY X was formed at the beginning of 1990 and though their time as band was brief, managed to do full club tours across the US Midwest and release a 6 song cassette featuring some of their strongest songs. Fast forward 2019 all these recordings plus 6 previously unreleased tracks are being officially put on CD for the first time under the title “Can’t Stop Rockin'”.
Taking a quick look at COWBOY X promotional photos – big hair, AquaNet and snake boots – you can guess the musical style of the band: US melodic hard rock with a classic late ’80s / early 90s sound.
It was early 1990 and the local music scene in Nebraska was awash with bands covering ’80s hair metal and not many acts were writing & recording original music. Fed up with the bar band and cover tune attitude of so many bands, COWBOY X was developed with original music in mind.
The band consisted of former members of Airstrike, who had a very successful independent release, as well as members of Blitz’n, Z-92 Radios Local Lick’s winner.
The band recorded six songs of its 30-song catalog for Direct Hit Records as an EP for shopping major record labels. Shotgun Management and Direct Hit Records’ intentions were to have COWBOY X finish recording a full-length release, then do a full club / hall tour in the Midwest at the end of 1990 before signing with a major label.
They drew the attention of some big hitters in the industry, however as we know, the music scene at that time was about to change very dramatically away from LA style hard rock & melodic hard rock toward Seattle based grunge & alternative.
The 6 songs on the EP locally released in late 1990 were tracked in the basement studio of drummer Michael Watson who ran a part-time business under the name Skeleton Crew Music. They were mixed and mastered down to ¼ tape in a local professional studio.
Although the musical shift was clearly happening, the sales of the COWBOY X EP did very well into early 1991, a limited release which turned sold out.
As example, songs like the melodic n’ catchy ‘Jealousy’ brings to mind Dokken late era, the anthemic title track ‘Can’t Stop Rockin’ Motley Crue circa Girls Girls Girls, then the midtempo ballad ‘Higher You Get’ has a Warrant / Jani Lane imprint all over it.
‘Need To No’ is harder, with some Icon over it, and while the additional songs hasn’t the same audio quality (8-track demos), all are a nice showcase of the underground melodic hard rock scene at the time.
This collection of songs for the first time on CD / available world-wide is cool sample of that time in history from the effervescent US melodic hard rock scene.
Very cool unreleased stuff
01 – Dreamin’
02 – Hard Times Go
03 – Jealousy
04 – Can’t Stop Rockin’
05 – Higher You Get
06 – Need To No
07 – Dreamin (Demo)
08 – Hard Times (Demo)
09 – Nice And Nasty (Demo)
10 – Runner (Demo)
11 – Need 2 No (Demo)
12 – Don’t Give Up (Demo)
Gregg Lee – Vocals
David Marshall Hughes, Barry Engle – Guitars
Randy Cotton – Bass
Michael Watson – Drums
BUY IT !