By Jimmy Preston
KTSW Web Content
*KTSW consists of and respects varying opinions within its staff. Opinion articles do not reflect the opinion of KTSW as a whole.
It may be about time to update the Wikipedia entry for songwriters who hail from Texas State, and add Mandy Rowden to the list. With the release of her new album, “These Bad Habits,” it is now time for Bobcat nation to claim her before someone else does. Just months removed from her album release tour of America’s Midwest, Southwest and Golden State she already has started work on her next album. While back home in Austin, TX she took the stage at many local gigs, and as we speak she’s touring the Midwest again.
Growing up in East Texas in her fundamentalist Baptist household, gospel and classical music were the only songs she played on her violin and piano as a 6 year old. Originally she thought teaching music was her calling, and she worked hard to earn scholarships to pursue this path at South West Texas(Now, Texas State). It was during her time at Texas State that she started to explore her inner songwriter.
Mandy hit the San Marcos stages armed with her voice, a guitar, and a playlist of cover songs. One night at the Green Parrot, her first paid gig(making a whopping $22), her love affair with pleasing audiences began. Rowden spent the rest of her time in San Marcos developing her stage presence, and songwriting. She also credited her time working at Green Hall for exposing her to local songwriters; Susan Gibson, Terri Hendrix and Eliza Gilkyson. These women were strong examples on how to successfully build a career in the music business. Seeing them play around San Marcos and nearby New Braunfels she learned how to work the grind. She honed her stage presence, her wit, and marketing prowess.
Mandy’s new album was a labor of love. It’s an Americana rock record, drawing comparisons to Lucinda Williams. It rocks, it’s folky, and full of emotion. The recording process was fully funded by Rowden, as she didn’t want to rely on crowdfunding, and completed it over the span of a year. It was a laid back process that involved recording sessions every few weeks. The album is full of heavy hitters as well: Lloyd Maines, Redd Volkaert, and Brad Rice play on numerous tracks.
Ironically her music career has led her back, full-circle, to a side-gig as a teacher with her Girl Guitar classes in Austin, TX. Rowden formed the school after teaching privately for several years as a way to bring her students together, and empower them to develop their inner “Rock Star.” Students are taught every aspect of taking the stage, and not just with a guitar, they can learn drums, bass, and many other instruments. The Girl Guitar showcases are also a great reflection of Mandy’s laid-back nature. As her students take the stage, they do it with a confident grace, that reflects well on Mandy and the other amazing Girl Guitar instructors.
Mandy Rowden is a Bobcat for life! So come on Cats! Make it a habit to check out her new album, “These Bad Habits,” and eat it up!