INTERVIEW: TIMOTHY BOWEN PLAYS BLUEBEE SATURDAY NIGHT

If you’re looking for something to do this Saturday night and you like quality music at a great venue, you should get to the Bluebee room to see Timothy Bowen.

The brother of Nashville actress Clare Bowen and successful musician in his own right, Timothy is no stranger to playing in Adelaide, and loves coming back.

Having lived through some difficult experiences in recent times, Timothy is looking forward to playing his new EP, Bloom for us.

“Adelaide is such a beautiful city. I’ve only played there twice, but both times were really special. Most recently, playing with Clare at Her Majesty’s Theatre, was such a spectacular experience. The theatre just had such a beautiful atmosphere and it was such a beautiful place to kick off the tour,” he says.

“The last time I played in Adelaide before that was at the Bluebee Room, where I’m playing this weekend, back in 2015. It was a great show in such a great little room, but it was a really strange time, as I remember being on tour and playing as many shows as I possibly could fit into my schedule. Coming to play the gig, I remember feeling so ill and not knowing why. It was just after that time that I found out I had cancer. Coming back to play this weekend will definitely be an eye opening experience, but I’m really looking forward to revisiting and making some new memories.”

The cancer took a huge toll on Timothy but he kept making music and is working through the aftermath of a life threatening experience.

“At the end of 2015 right around Christmas, I was diagnosed with end stage blood cancer. I’m in remission now, but the road over the past two years has been one of the most incredible, life altering journeys I’ve ever experienced. At the point they found it, if I did nothing, I would have been gone by New Year’s Eve,” he says.

“It was such an unfathomable concept to be told you had cancer, let alone to be told it was that serious. Because of the intensity of the chemotherapy I was on, I got quite weak very quickly, to the point where I no longer had the strength to even play acoustic guitar. That in turn had a huge impact on the way that I was looking at music, and because of my physical limitations, I had to find other ways to make music. I started playing electric because the strings were easier to get notes out of and was singing a capella with my fiancè a whole lot more. Later on, I actually required heart surgery which put me flat on my back again for a few weeks.

“The experience over the past few months has no doubt been completely life changing. There are songs I’ve already written that have become staples in my setlist because they represent so much now and I’m sure there will be a lot more music to come.

“Now, I’m doing really well. I’m back to playing every kind of guitar I can and I’m writing a lot more music. My fitness still isn’t back to what it was, but I’m slowly getting there. I’ve also been dealing with a lot of reactive arthritis in my hands as a result of the chemotherapy, which has made it difficult to play guitar at times. And as you would imagine, the mental health issues attached to surviving something like this are pretty serious. But I have a fairly persistent happy personality and a relatively high pain threshold now, so I think I’m winning.”

Timothy Bowen’s recently released EP Bloom documents the past year and a half with a bunch of songs that will truly touch the soul.

“Every song on Bloom has a very specific meaning and memory attached to it and the whole EP is a bookend for everything that’s happened in the past 18 months, so I’m comfortable in saying the emotional attachment to the whole project is very high,” he laughs.

“But I would have to say the one [song] I have the most connection with is ‘The Greatest Love’. It was the first song I wrote since being diagnosed. I was still going through treatment and getting my voice back, so finishing the song was a pretty big moment for me. It’s about my fiancè, Christina Mullany,” he says.

“She was studying to be a doctor at the time when I was diagnosed and she was the one that picked up on everything and dragged me to the doctor’s office to be checked out. Without her, I wouldn’t be here. It’s a pretty sobering feeling knowing that your best friend is the one who literally saved your life. She’s now a working doctor and saving other people’s lives. ‘The Greatest love’ is about everything we’ve gone through together. And in that sense, it sums up our history and all the living we’ve still got to do.”

Timothy’s music has been enjoyed both at home and overseas, with one of his songs featuring in the smash hit TV series, Nashville.

“It was such a phenomenal experience to be asked to write for the show, Nashville. The TV network has days that are dedicated to writing songs with a who’s-who list of writers from the city of Nashville. I was paired up with two incredible writers, Stephanie Lambring and Andy Albert, and we ended up writing two songs that day. At the end of the day, everyone sits down and plays what they’ve produced throughout the session – sort of like a musical show and tell,” he says.

“When we played our song ‘From Here On Out’, the room fell silent. That’s when we knew we might have been onto something. It got picked up for the show and placed in one of the pinnacle points in the whole TV series. No spoilers here for those who aren’t caught up, but it’s sung by Charles Esten’s character, Deacon Claybourne. Charles went on to sing the song all over the world with the Nashville Tour and then I had the serendipitous privilege of flying into Nashville about five days before Charles was holding an event for a charity called ‘Light the Night’ – a charity that supports research specifically into blood cancer – and he asked me to come and sing the song with him.

“From that point onwards, the song took on a completely new meaning for me. It’s so incredible to know though, that a song I had a hand in writing has reached so many people across the world.”

You can see Timothy Bowen at Bluebee Room with special guest Kylie Brice on Saturday August 12 with tickets only $20, so grab them HERE.

By Libby Parker

Photo supplied