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Girl Star, Grown Up

Still proud of her family band, Susan Cowsill does her own thing now.

The Cowsills became a national bubblegum-rock sensation when MGM released "The Rain, The Park, and Other Things" in 1967. Seven-year-old Susan Cowsill began her career in 1968 when she joined the family band prior to recording the evergreen hit "Indian Lake."

So who would a seven-year-old pop star listen to in 1968?

"The Monkees! I was also ­listening to Jackson Five, Carpenters, First Edition, The Buckinghams, Hollies, stuff like that," Cowsill notes.

She was barely eight years old when the group appeared on the nationally televised Ed Sullivan Show.

"That was the first show I ever did, and it was a walk in the park. It was so awesome to be on the same stage as the Beatles, and I was so proud of my big brothers and so happy for them. They'd worked very hard to get there, and you can see the thrill on their faces when you look at the old footage."

"As far as stage fright," laughs Cowsill, "I was and still am more comfortable onstage than off. It's safe up there. And fun. I love connecting with my audience."

Cowsill acknowledges that being in a family band was both exhilarating and debilitating.

"I was just a little kid, and I thought it was a blast being in a band with my brothers. I worshipped them. But the closeness factor was wearing on the older guys for sure. It was less about the talent factor and more about ­being with your family 24/7, I think."

Even though she doesn't do Cowsills material in her solo shows, she's vocal about her respect for what the band achieved.

"I personally like Captain Sad and His Ship of Fools. It was an interesting and unusual record, and I like that all us little guys got our own solos. But absolutely nothing we did makes me cringe. I think we were awesome and very era-appropriate."

Cowsill's current project, the Susan Cowsill Band, is a rootsy mix of Americana, rock and blues. For her Discovery Green show, she will be performing a set of her own songs, mostly from her 2005 solo album Just Believe It, and a second set consisting of the Beatles' Revolver from start to finish.

NEWS FEED

Free Press Houston announced the lineup for the inaugural "Summer Fest," set over two days, on August 8 and 9. It's set to be a hellacious indie-rock spectacle, featuring "Pitchfork" darlings Of Montreal, Explosions in the Sky and Broken Social Scene, plus Austin's own power-pop swooners What Made Milwaukee Famous, the Octopus Project and Sabbath-channeling The Sword. You can also expect a smattering of Houston musical heavyweights including Wild Moccasins, Buxton and the overwhelming pairing of B L A C K I E vs. Cop Warmth spread out over the weekend-long festival.

On the roadshow front, Tennessee rockers Kings of Leon are set to hit up the Toyota Center on October 6, with London's White Lies lending opening support for the likely sell-out concert. The band's single "Use Somebody" has been getting covered by Nickelback during their live shows, including during the latter's sold-out gig in April at the House That Yao Built. It was just less than five years ago that the pretty boys in KOL were playing a free show sponsored by Camel cigarettes at the Meridian, just blocks away.Craig Hlavaty

LOCAL MOTION

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1. Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest

2. Steve Earle, Townes

3. Magpies, Eastern Standard Time

4. The Belleville Outfit, Time to Stand

5. Dex Romweber Duo, Ruins of Berlin

6. Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women

7. Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, Live from Madison Square Garden

8. Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

9. Iron & Wine, Around the Well

10. Various, KTRU Live Vol. 1

AIRWAVES

Blues on the MoveKPFT (90.1 FM), Sundays 8-11 a.m.
Selections from Mr. & Mrs. V's June 7 playlist
www.kpft.org

1. Albert Collins, "Highway Like a Woman"

2. Magic Slim, "What's Wrong"

3. Koko Taylor, "Wang Dang Doodle"

4. Koko Taylor, "Beer Bottle Boogie"

5. Aretha Franklin, "Do Right Woman"

6. Dinah Washington, "Romance in the Dark"

7. Leela James, "Clean Up Woman"

8. Tina Turner, "Stormy Weather"

9. Little Milton, "It's Hard to Stumble"

10. Tommy Dardar, "Voodoo Queen"

(lists compiled by Chris Gray)

 
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