Singer-songwriter Mandy Rowden was one of the hardest working musicians that I met during my time in Austin, Texas. The songstress and multi-instrumentalist, who also founded and runs the successful instructional school Girl Guitar Austin, just released These Bad Habits, a solo album featuring Austin staples Lloyd Maines, Bard Rice and Redd Volkaert. Rowden wrote all eleven tracks on the album including the song “Haunt You,” co-written with Billy Abel.
Growing up, Rowden’s musical diet had been limited to gospel and classical, the only sounds allowed in her East Texas family’s fundamentalist Baptist household, where she was home-schooled through eighth grade.Rowden picked up a guitar in high school, and was introduced to Americana while studying English and Film at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State). That led her to, as she puts it, “quit the classical scene,” and find her own voice. And what a voice it is, both lyrically and literally. Rowden possesses gorgeously nuanced vocals, which she wraps easily around verses baring emotions at once intensely personal and fully relatable.
“Like most chick songwriters, I’ve been guilty of writing heavily about my thoughts and feelings on relationships,” she admits. “And my response is, ‘Screw it, it’s what I’m feeling, so it’s what I’ll write!’ Love and love lost are some seriously universal topics, so I don’t see them going out of style any time soon.” Mandy Rowden, 9 p.m. Monday at Town Square Tavern. Free. 733-3886.