Lockhart songwriter Rowden featured at Library
Special to the LPR
New to Lockhart, Mandy Rowden will be the featured guest for Evenings with the Songwriter, the monthly series of the historic Dr. Eugene Clark Library, on the last Tuesday of the month, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.
Hosted and produced by veteran Lockhart songwriter Fletcher Clark, this acclaimed series is now in its 11th season and is always free to the public.
Brought up in East Texas, Rowden has been a practicing musician since the tender age of six. That’s when she began learning classical piano and guitar, laying the foundation for an eventual career in music. It wasn’t until the Americana sound found its way into her soul that Rowden embraced her true path: that of a real-deal, down-in-the-dirt singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who’s weathered some storms and emerged with tales to tell. Equal parts bourbon and honey, her search for meaning finds its way into each song, seeking answers while reveling in the wonder of it all.
According to the Charleston City Paper, “Rowden tells it like it is over a wiry brand of alt-country, singing in a low-key, sleepily sensual voice that calls to mind Kim Richey or Lucinda Williams.”
In addition to making music of her own, Rowden is dedicated to helping others discover the joy of songwriting, vocal performance and instrument study. That’s why she founded Girl Guitar: a comprehensive rock school for women, bringing music enthusiasts of every skill level into six-week workshops with a rollicking showcase at the end. The Austin-based program introduces beginners to the basics of their chosen craft and encourages intermediate and advanced musicians to further hone their skills, all while surrounded by a supportive female community.
Now in it’s 14th year, Girl Guitar “has surpassed my wildest dreams,” said Rowden, with around 25 classes per week and quite a few repeat students. “Some of the women involved have been in the program since the beginning and are still going strong. We’ve had holidays together, been through babies being born, divorces, road trips, benders, you name it. It’s really beautiful.
“(Dr.) Kevin Mooney, my musical colleague for weekly Sunday services at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, had recently become thesis advisor to a woman seeking her Master’s at Texas State University. Of particular interest to me would be that she is a songwriter and someone actively nurturing songwriting and music among others,” said Clark, “After minimal vetting, she met me for brunch so I could get to know her and find out how her path had led her to re-locate to Lockhart. She is a most impressive musician and teacher, and a very creative songwriter.”
Celebrated past guests of Evenings with the Songwriter have included Tish Hinojosa, Shake Russell, Don Sanders (RIP), Vince Bell, Susan Gibson, Butch Hancock, Christine Albert, Eric Taylor (RIP), Dana Cooper, Sarah Hickman, Ken Gaines, Shelley King, Rex Foster (RIP), Walt Wilkins, Bianca DeLeon, Michael Hearne, Dustin Welch, local favorites Stoney Gabel and Talia Bryce, and scores more. The 2023 season will continue with more celebrated locals, Mark Jungers (Martindale) and HalleyAnna Finlay (Lockhart).
Free to the public on the last Tuesdays of the month (except December), Evenings with the Songwriter is made possible through the efforts of Library Director Bertha Martinez and the dedicated staff. The series is sponsored and supported by Lockhart Area Music Association and Old Settlers Music Festival. Artists and audiences enjoy the acoustics and ambiance of the Lyceum of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library (the oldest continually operating library building in Texas), a setting and experience unlike any other. Here songwriters enjoy a focus not to be found through the press or media, in clubs or festivals, nor in house concerts and workshops.