hard to categorize this one
tries to please everyone
not bad on the softer stuff
terrible whern trying to rock out
like Farmer's Daughter and Mine All Mine

Grade - 1.5

released Dec 14th, 2010

from the album - Farmer's Daughter - grade 2.0


from all music


Taking cues from her favorite songwriters -- including Melissa Etheridge, Janis Joplin, and Sista Otis -- Crystal Bowersox brought a relaxed, folksy vibe to the ninth season of American Idol. Although she auditioned for the show in Chicago, Bowersox grew up five hours east in Elliston, OH, a small town with fewer than 100 residents. She began writing songs as a ten-year-old and, by her early teens, had formed a band with her brothers. Dubbed “Oldinuph” -- a name that poked fun at their own adolescence -- the siblings played shows throughout Ottawa County for several years, with Bowersox writing most of their original material. She eventually moved to Chicago at the age of 17, looking to pursue her career in a bigger city.

Bowersox spent five years in Chicago before moving back home to give birth to her son, Tony. She continued performing in local venues, though, and auditioned for American Idol during a weekend trip to Chicago in 2009. Although her blonde dreadlocks and earthy vocals made her a rarity among most Idol contenders, Bowersox quickly became an audience favorite, breezing through each round of the competition with performances of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” and other rootsy songs. Following Siobhan Magnus' elimination in early May, Bowersox was the only female contestant left, and she eventually finished as the runner-up to American Idol champion Lee DeWyze. Her debut album, Farmer's Daughter, appeared later that year.

Album Review

“Whatever happened to good old rock & roll” are the first words Crystal Bowersox sings on her debut, Farmer’s Daughter, thereby succinctly summarizing her appeal on American Idol. During season nine of the long-running televised talent show, Bowersox was the earth mother who placed second to Lee DeWyze’s hammy smarm, providing a port in the storm for lovers of good old rock & roll, the kind they made back in the late ‘60s. Crystal’s idol was clearly Janis Joplin -- she auditioned with “Piece of My Heart,” she never strayed far from a throaty blues growl -- which in modern terms translates to something halfway between Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow, two artists whose well-manicured roots rock echoes on Farmer’s Daughter. Bowersox possesses a charisma that’s tangible on record, helping to pull a listener through otherwise nondescript songs, almost all penned by Bowersox herself. The abundance of originals -- ten of the 12 tunes bear Crystal credits -- suggests 19 didn’t pay too much interest in the project apart from having her funkify Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and sing an anonymous power ballad by Kara DioGuardi and Chad Kroger, and frankly that’s a shame: Bowersox has the core ingredients of a solid little record here; she just could use help in forming it into an actual album. If she had the right co-writers, the kind who could pull melodies out of her sincere strumming and down-home jamming -- the kind the whole American Idol empire was designed to bring into the equation -- Farmer’s Daughter would deliver on Bowersox’s promise instead of sounding like a local singer/songwriter performing on a stage she’s too modest to fill.

Track Listing

1 Ridin' with the Radio Bowersox 3:26
2 For What It's Worth Stills 3:18
3 Farmer's Daughter Bowersox 4:09
4 Holy Toledo Bowersox 3:51
5 Lonely Won't Come Around Bowersox, Harris, Tamposi 3:30
6 Hold On DioGuardi, Kroeger 3:13
7 On the Rim Bowersox 3:23
8 Kiss Ya Bowersox 3:09
9 Speak Now Bowersox 4:48
10 Mine All Mine Bowersox 3:34
11 Mason Bowersox, Walker 3:18
12 Arlene Bowersox 2:55