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Pepper McGowan | Bad Stars

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Pepper McGowan

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Rock: Acoustic Pop: Quirky Moods: Mood: Brooding
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Bad Stars

by Pepper McGowan

Sung softly into your ear, when the moon sinks to mid-sky after bar closing time. Just a handful of stars. The piano spins and weaves confessions and unapologetic revelations. It's just the two of us, and the blue half hour is rising.
Genre: Rock: Acoustic
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Casey (and the Band Played On)
0:44 album only
2. Anything but Apples
3:40 album only
3. When You Were Mine
3:18 album only
4. Pensacola
4:42 album only
5. Whore
4:13 album only
6. Bad Moon Rising
3:34 album only
7. Bad Star
5:09 album only
8. Long Way Down (look What the Cat Drug In)
3:08 album only
9. Fire
5:15 album only
10. All I Want Is You
3:18 album only
11. Bodies
5:30 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Pepper McGowan has been making up songs since age 3 ("I'm walking around a lamp a lamp, I'm walking around a lamp-a lamp-sung to the tune of Blue Danube Waltz, of course.

She released two previous CDs, I wish I was but I'm not (1994) and Marrow (1998)

This April, she recorded the disk BAD STARS in one night. It marks the first release of her own label INKY MIDNIGHT. It is an 11 song record with mostly originals and cover songs by Prince, Michael Penn, CCR, and U2.

Pepper is currently not touring largely, but holed up in her attic playing with feedback and a four track, drinking cold coffee and trying to organize her next release. It's expected before the new year, and she will tour to support it as soon as it's done, along with her band The Lamplighters.



to write a review

Sali Z., self-proclaimed music critic

Less Is More
Pepper has always had the impeccable ability to rhyme with rhythm and retain wording that's sharp & visual. You'll get nothing less than that on "Bad Stars" coupled, of course, with her unique, sweet voice & simple, gorgeous piano-playing. Every song is carefully wrought w/emotion, never lending itself to drama. "Whore," while sounding like warm vanilla, speaks like a lion with its message "...I don't owe you nothin' but a kick and a beer and the truth..." Her cover of "When You Were Mine" is the best version recorded to date. All of her covers carry Pepper's own original interpretational twists (I admit to playing HER cover of "All I Want Is You" at my wedding) and though lovely they are, her best work performed is her own. My personal highlight on the CD is "Fire," which has been around for yrs, playing in smoky clubs & polishing up to become the song you'll find here, immortalized...I find myself pressing "Repeat" on the CD player. I have always been in love with the words, intense & dripping with the bittersweet revenge & memories of love gone awry.
While one may hear a bit of Tori or Joni, Ani or Elton in her work, in the end it always comes down to one name & one word for that name: Pepper McGowan. An original.


simple...beautiful!!!!!!!! feels like a long lost record you've just found again....love it!


Pepper McGowan rocks mah socks.
What I heard from this CD was amazing, almost like Tori Amos, in parts, which is definitely a good thing. Click on the links and listen to Peppers work. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

T. Hiles

Pepper: Unique, Delicious, Dark Intelligent Tunes!
This work is a solid blend of delicious covers that take on new personalities in Pepper capable hands, to original works that pierce to the darkest corners of the soul. Bad Star is spine-shivering in its dark richness, while Anything But Apples packs a playful punch that sticks in your head long after the disc is done. A solid album from start to finish best enjoyed in its entirety. Highly recommended if you enjoy intelligent, soulful work with an edge and attitude! It's been living in the CD changer for the 3 weeks I've had it and I doubt I'll be retiring it to the CD rack anytime soon.


i'm in love with "bad stars"
Pepper McGowan manages with this album to tear at my heart, chew up pieces and spit them out, remind me of other pieces I'd forgotten were there, and leave me feeling cleansed by fire. The original songs on the disk spew forth such gut-wrenching honesty and beauty that while I am tired from the emotional purging by track 11, I let the disk start over at track 1 and let the process begin again. The cover songs like "Long Way Down," "Bad Moon Rising," and "When You Were Mine" are turned inside out and given new meaning. I bought this album months ago and it's been a constant staple in my CD player ever since. Thank you, Pepper, for continuing to create and for making "Bad Stars" available again.

Paul Chen

Beautiful, soulful voice, rich lyrics, song filled with emotion
I really love Bad Stars. She does a wonderful, heartfelt cover of Prince's When You Were Mine. Almost makes me want to cry, that is how sweet it is. Whore is also an explorative song about what happens when people use people in their own way... and then the inevitable break-up occurs. Pensacola is good for driving long distances at night. Especially when you are in the mood for the sad and nostalgic.


Buying my second copy...
After a few months of owning this cd I'm having to purchase my second copy because after repeated playing I've worn this album out so bad that my favorite tracks don't like me anymore.
Pepper Mcgowan has this way with her songwriting and vocals and piano playing that simply pulls you in. She tells a story just as good as Joni Mitchell or Tom Waits and her delivery of the material tops the two mentioned above. There's meaning behind every word she sings and that's obvious in the original songs like "Pensacola" and "Bodies" (an out and out brilliant song by the way). Pepper also manages to cover songs like "When You Were Mine" and "Bad Moon Rising" without it feeling or sounding cliche at all.

All my disjointed rambling aside, maybe this cd was only a sideproject to keep us rabid fans from biting her earlobe off but it is a remarkable piece of work, simple in its package (her and her piano) but intense in ever other way. So yes...buy this, probably should pick up two just to have your backup.


Recipe for Pepper McGowan
For a smooth, well-blended Pepper McGowan, toss in a few parts Ani DiFranco, a bit of raw Tori Amos, and some Elton John for taste. Top with Van Morrison and a good Radiohead mixture for texture and consistancy, and voila. Serve chilled. Serves many...and all.


A Favorite of Mine
I just don't get tired of this kind of beauty. It sticks to the ear and pulls at the heart. The emotion pours out of her with every word. Whether it's a cover or an original, every song on this album is pure Pepper McGowan.