House shows are a unique way for an artist to truly stay in touch with their fans and burrow deep into their music in ways that a random club in a random city might not allow. Sean Rowe has been releasing music for a decade now, but for his new album, he decided to take it to the living rooms of his biggest fans. “It’s like I’m some kind of a bearded salesman,” Rowe told NPR about the experience. “But instead of vacuum cleaners I’m selling all these feelings that come with the songs.”
On Madman–out September 9–there’s a definite intimacy to many of the songs, but Rowe also tips his cap to one of his earliest influences: Otis Redding. There’s a definite soulfulness in Rowe’s grizzled delivery; you can practically hear all the miles he’s put in as a below-the-radar singer-songwriter. But all that traveling pays off on tracks like “Shine My Diamond Ring.” Over a hiccuping beat, Rowe seamlessly blends soul and folk together, selling it like the veteran salesman that he is.