The singer/songwriter got her start as a child in The Cowsill Family, which served as the inspiration for TV's Partridge Family. Several decades and bands later, she's decided to venture out on her own with her debut album, Just Believe It, and tour dates across the country.
Cowsill's touring plans have been expanded out of necessity in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The New Orleans home she shares with husband/drummer Russ Broussard was flooded and most of their instruments destroyed, so they're planning to stay on the road until January, when they hope to have a home to return to.
"Russ brought my guitar with him when he evacuated, and that was it," Cowsill told Pollstar. "And we just picked up stuff as we went along. People have been unbelievably - like life-alteringly - generous ... . People have just been amazing. I can't even talk about it because it's just too much. It's overwhelming, how great people have been."
Upcoming confirmed shows include October gigs in California, Michigan and Illinois, with Alabama and Louisiana on the map for the coming months.
Cowsill has been performing under her own name for a couple years now, following lengthy stints as the voice of the Continental Drifters and with Dwight Tilley. She said the move toward writing her own material came slowly but surely.
"I didn't start writing songs until the late '80s," she said. "And when I was in the Continental Drifters, I only had to come up with two songs per album 'cause there were so many writers. So the pressure was pretty low.
"I was writing all the time; it's just not a lot of the songs were appropriate for that band.
"There is a certain amount of onus that goes with being a songwriter. In fact, I really kind of like to just say I'm a singer, so I don't have to have the pressure ... . But it's a whole different ballgame, and I find that I can't stop myself from writing anymore. I want to make it stop sometimes and it won't.
"So that's very different. I used to write for sport," she said, laughing. "Now I write, I think, just to save my own soul, you know? That's a 24-hour job."
These days, plenty of people ask Cowsill why she waited so long to mount a solo career. For Cowsill, the timing is perfect.
"It's something that I've been knowing I need to do, like, all my life. But I hadn't lived my life enough to write about it; enough to make it mean enough to me to lay it down.
"Everything happens as it's supposed to happen."
And there's plenty more where this album came from.
"This is my first record. I've got a bunch in me. It's almost like I'm a new artist, which is hysterical," she laughed. "I'm a debutante at 46."
Just Believe It, released October 11, features 11 Cowsill originals as well as a cover of the Sandy Denny/Fairport Convention tune "Who Knows Where The Time Goes." Rolling Stone, Variety and The Washington Post have all praised the disc as a breath of roots-rock fresh air.
As Cowsill and her band make the rounds, they are also furiously at work searching for her brother Barry, who has been missing since just after Hurricane Katrina hit. He had moved to New Orleans just a few weeks earlier.
He has not been heard from since he left a phone message with his sister several days after the storm.
Anyone with possible information on Barry Cowsill's whereabouts is urged to contact the family through www.cowsill.com.