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Nic Cowan happy to be part of the Zac Brown universe

for Journal Register Newspapers

» See more SOUND CHECK

Nic Cowan has primarily been known as a songwriter to this juncture. But that's going to change if Zac Brown has anything to say about it.

Brown has signed Cowan -- who co-wrote three songs on the Zac Brown Band's 2010 album "You Get What You Give" -- to his Southern Ground label. And Cowan says that's the kind of support that pays significant dividends.

"It's definitely not your typical label situation," says Cowan, 29, a Texas resident and the son of a professional musician father who fell in with the Brown camp after moving to Atlanta. "It's more community-based, I guess you would say. Everyone on the label writes their own music; I think that's unique compared to other labels and helps out with the whole vibe of our label.

"And we all write with each other. We really are like a family. It's pretty special."

Cowan says he wanted his debut album, "Hardheaded," "to be natural." But he also set out to make something that showed his broad musical roots .

"I grew up listening to a lot of soul music and a lot of R&B and funk and stuff like that," he explains. "But I love country music and Southern rock and my Southern roots as well. I wanted to find a way to put a little bit of all that on the record.

"So it's got some Southern tunes, some folky, even a little bit of urban vibe to it. It's got a little bit of everything. I've got influences from all over the place; that's how I grew up, and that's what I wanted to tap into on the album. And I think I did."

Nic Cowan and the Brian Collins Band, perform Tuesday, Feb. 28, at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8. Call 248-544-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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