Crystal Bowersox: Farmer’s Daughter

Well, apart from the little expletive at the beginning of this song, I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed with this performance by Top 3 American Idol Season 9 Finalist, Crystal Bowersox.

“Farmer’s Daughter” is an original composition penned from the musical heart and soul of one Crystal Bowersox.  If this song is any indication of what she will be able to contribute to the music industry, then I feel that she will be extremely successful. 

Marketing is key here!   Initially, her distinct talent will work extremely well within a smaller,  intimate environment.  I can’t see her filling huge arenas as of yet,  but time and planning will take care of this aspect of her career.

Listening to Crystal’s relaxed, liberated performance, I was reminded how confining these theme weeks can be for the Idol singers.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of them could sing with the style of music that suits them best? 

Jason Castro is a prime example of this very fact!  He has grown s0 much as a performer since his last appearance on American Idol two years ago.   Time and nurturing makes a monumental difference in the comfort level of a performer – that and the opportunity to perform music that is meaningful to them as artists.

Perhaps the producers should consider an  original song week. The singers  could sing one of their own compositions  or one written specifically for them by an another artist.  If some of the singers are not true songwriters, then they should  be  encouraged to become  involved at some level  in the writing process. This would further showcase their creativity as an artist.

Further to this thought, how about taking a well-known cover song and ask each singer to arrange it to suit their singing style?  They would have to start with a blank slate – making decisions about the flow of the melodic line, key change, instrumental accompaniment and background vocalists. That would certainly separate the artist from the artist-in-waiting, wouldn’t it?

Think about this as you listen to Crystal sing this song. It really is beautiful, the words and music flowing from the depth of her heart and soul.

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Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

32 Responses to “Crystal Bowersox: Farmer’s Daughter”

  1. Thank you for posting this, MCL. I really enjoyed it.


  2. Thank you Jessica! 🙂


  3. Keep in mind that I am biased:

    I have been listening to this and her other original compositions for the last 3 months and haven’t gotten tired of them yet. Listen to Sandman, Holy Toledo, Hellbent, Saved By Grace (the live version with the violins–it will tear your heart out), Just Want To Love You Before You Leave, Grey Haired Rock Stars, and at least a half dozen others. You will realize that Crystal Bowersox is a true original.


  4. I’ve been reading your awesome blog over the last couple months and I think I’ll finally add something of my own.

    The minute I first saw this video of Crystal’s back in February (?), I favorited, and viewed it dozens of times since. It’s really the most engrossing thing I have heard from her and better than anything she performed on idol IMO. I really like Crystal and up to the top 16, she, Siobhan, and Lilly were my favorites.

    Like many of you Siobhan was, and is, my favorite. As a matter of fact, favorite since I’ve been watching season 6. Her singing voice has a really unique quality which is just oozing in something I can’t describe. This is especially apparent in her studio versions which are out of this world amazing (I’ve probably listened to each one a hundred times). I’m pretty sure all the studio versions are slightly modified to sound better (anyone know?), but yeah….

    Oh, and I don’t have any credentials to judge vocal abilities, I just know what I like.


  5. MCL,

    Many thanks for providing this wonderful like to a truly moving, powerful performance from a gifted young woman. It’s interesting how Idol seems to somehow minimize or dilute the unique creativity and genius of its contestants. Those theme weeks are limiting and sometimes just suck the life out of these young people.

    I have not listened to any of Crystal’s original songs, so this has been quite a revelation to me. What I sincerely hope is that the Idol machine does right by her. I worry about the decisions they make on the material for their debut albums, their marketing strategy and how they guide them through the process of becoming a star.

    We have seen that the Idol machine does not always seem to act in the best interests of its Idol winners. Taylor Hicks was handled so poorly and his debut album did not truly reflect his true singing style. Bo Bice is another one who was also mishandled, his debut album also being stripped of so many of his original gifts. I was most unhappy about how Ruben Studdard fared with the Idol people. His first single was abysmal and did nothing to show off his gorgeous voice. I did not like his album and, even when he appeared this season, his new single again simply did not showcase his incredible voice.

    I just hope that Idol is smart enough to let Crystal’s talent and artistic creativity shine on her debut album.


  6. Typos! Thanks for providing this wonderful LINK!


  7. This original song by Crystal brought me to tears. I have to wonder if this is the story of Crystal’s life. It was moving and very, very sad. Just beautifully done.


  8. Yes – to all –

    And please do consider original works from Singer-Songwriter Contestants and/or Collaborations with mentors…


  9. Here is one from yesterday –

    Crystal Bowersox sings The National Anthem in Toledo


  10. Look how round and relaxed her mouth is during this performance of the Anthem!! Wow! The technique is finally starting to “kick in”. Still a bit too much chest voice, but still a huge improvement!


  11. I have just finished listening to Farmers Daughter and have chills. What a poignant song. I think Crystal has so much more inside of her that she has not yet projected to the masses. There is no way this young lady isn’t going to be a major force in the music world. Anyone know if there is an mp3 of this anywhere? Thanks.


  12. Pretty good for holding a baby on your hip! In this difficult song to sing I can really tell how breath support would help the parts where she strains to smoothen them out and the soft, low parts to be more intelligible.

    Farmer’s Daughter is a beautiful song in the singer-songwriter tradition. I think it’s a song that follows Dylan, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Sting, Tracy Chapman, (I’m not very good on the current ones – Jason Mraz, Jack Johnson, Coldplay, Jewel).

    If she gets a real-life mentor, one that let’s her open some shows like Dylan did for Jewel, she could really have some success. One can’t do covers all day, singer or musician, and she already has a wealth of original material on which to draw.

    I wonder if the judges sneak peaks at this stuff. I really think Simon is dying to get his hands on her, proverbially, in the studio. I think she could be the next Jewel – tooth and all!


  13. This is a wonderful performance, but it really doesn’t surprise me in the least. Well, of course, you never know whether someone can really write good songs, but I think that what you are responding to is also reflected in her song arrangements on Idol. She has a unique style and way of interpreting songs that is very special. “I’m All Right” is a perfect example of this. Can you imagine anyone else doing the song in that way?

    Yes, she has technical problems as a singer, and I, too, am glad to see that the vocal coaches have apparently begun to have some impact on her and hope that she continues that work once Idol is over, because I think that she’ll need that to keep her voice in healthy shape. But artistically, she knows who she is, and who she is is special indeed.


  14. With Crystal, I see a real difference when she emotionally connects with her material and when she is merely doing a cover. I had the pleasure of being in the studio audience for the Top 7 when Crystal sang “People Get Ready.” Her father was in the audience and her excitement of seeing him brought out one of her very best AI performances. The whole audience was clearly moved by it. I think that the quality of her debut CD will depend on how much she is able to collaborate in writing the music. AI is set-up to recognize the singer. Crystal’s true gift lies in being a singer-songwriter.


  15. “Farmer’s Daughter is a beautiful song in the singer-songwriter tradition. I think it’s a song that follows Dylan, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Sting, Tracy Chapman,”

    1000% agree.

    “I think that the quality of her debut CD will depend on how much she is able to collaborate in writing the music.”

    I have to think that 19E knows what they have with Crystal. They have to know about her original material, especially after she sang a lot of it during her homecoming. If they don’t allow her to collaborate they are wasting her time, their time and ours. IMO, she has the potential to put out YEARS worth of albums just based on the originals she has now. If they are smart they will use 2-3 of the songs that have made their way to youtube and elsewhere on each album she puts out and the rest she could either co-write or write herself. She’s got MY money, I know that.


  16. I like this song a lot & Crystal sounds great. It would be really nice if she could sing it on the Tour concert; people would love it. However, I need to vent so please forgive me. At an emotional level I am still angry about what happened to Siobhan. So maybe I shouldn’t be posting at all. But I think I need to. I need to sit down & write my letters to Idol. I’ve already written one to Ellen but haven’t sent it yet. I believe that one of my true talents is my ability to write letters. OK, there, I’ve had my say. Thank you for sharing this beautiful link, MCL.


  17. Addendum: I have my Idol Tour ticket for Charlotte 7/25. I am in Row K(11); I had a Row C(3) seat but Ticketmaster kicked me out for taking too long (I’ve already complained about that). But I am not going to promise that I will sit through the entire concert. It depends largely on whether or not I get a an autograph from Siobhan before the show. If I don’t, I’m going to be standing out at the barricades waiting for her after the show wherever they are (interestingly Charlotte is in an outdoor venue this year – the Verizon Amphitheater). I hope I get the autograph before the show so I can hear everyone. I got Danny Gokey’s & Kris Allen’s before the show last summer. I never got Adam Lambert’s *sigh*. But I was in the 1st row in Charlotte last summer so I really can’t complain.

    And also “for the record” – I have tickets to hear Adam Lambert in Bethlehem PA on 8/13. I’m really looking forward to that.


  18. Sorry – I have to make a 3rd comment in order to subscribe to get E-Mails for follow-ups. Thanks.


  19. Darlene,

    I think it’s perfectly fine to both recognize Crystal’s talent and to be upset at what happened to Siobhan. If the judges, especially Kara and Simon, had treated all the contestants fairly, then we would all feel much more positively about the show this season.

    Last summer, I attended two of the AI concerts and got Adam’s signature after one of the performances. He never went out pre-show. This year I’ve decided to pass on AI. I would have gone had Siobhan made the top 4, but I know that I’d just feel resentment hearing her perform just two songs.

    I have tickets to two of Adam’s concerts this summer. I had the pleasure of seeing him at his New Year’s Eve concert in Los Angeles and his Fantasy Springs concert in Indio, CA. Those were his first two solo concerts post-AI and I feel very privileged to have been part of that experience. This song, which Adam cowrote, brought me to tears at Fantasy Springs.

    Despite my current unhappiness with AI, I have to thank this show for giving Adam, Siobhan, Crystal, and all of the others a platform to launch their careers.


  20. Thanks so much for your kind comment, Sue. I am SO jealous that you go to see Adam at Fantasy Springs. I have some friends from the Philadelphia area who were able to get out for that concert. Last summer I went to 2 Tour concerts, Charlotte & Philly. Adam came out after Charlotte; he didn’t after Philly & there were some VERY sad people in that crowd that night (can smile about it now but we were pretty bummed at the time). The “Broken Open” video that you shared is incredible; I’m listening to it right now. I like the “electronic” Adam but I think this concert was a return to his more acoustic side & I loved it. There are some incredible acoustic videos that were part of the MTV concert circuit that are incredible. I am part of a great Twitter community that follows Adam very closely. I agree that I have to thank American Idol for introducing me to wonderful performers like Adam, Allison Iraheta, Siobhan, Crystal, even little Aaron Kelly whom I hope will stick with his dreams. So lots of good stuff.

    I just listened to a short interview with Crystal in which she states that the contestant she misses the most is Siobhan. Here’s the link. It’s about 2/3 of the way down the page.

    As I have stated elsewhere, my plan for American Idol next year is 1) Don’t watch until top 12 2) don’t listen to judges 3) don’t vote. But I will watch the performances & will continue to stop by & comment.


  21. Darlene,

    The Fantasy Springs was special because it was so free and spontaneous. Another highlight, of course, was his acoustic version of “Whole Lotta Love,” which was completely improvized on the stage by both Adam and the band.

    According to a tweet Adam sent out: “The Glam Nation Tour is going to visit these three different types of performance: Rock w the band, Pop w the dancers, and Acoustic.”

    I very much hope that he will include “A Loaded Smile” done acoustically as well “The Ring of Fire.”


  22. Way to hijack a thread, darlene.

    Check it:


  23. J. May — Thanks for that link. Really nice to see how comfortable she is on stage and get a glimpse of the kind of performer she is apt to be post-Idol. Their song times on the show are so short that I think it probably constrains all of them to some extent.


  24. I briefly pondered the wisdom of talking about the Tour & Adam within this thread. I decided to take the risk. I did include this video in my YouTube collection. I will now be quiet.


  25. Since I’m new here, I’m not sure what the unwritten rules are about how conversations evolve. I assume that as long as we’re talking about music, particularly in the context of AI, with respect for the artists and for each other, it’s o.k. to go slightly off-topic. If I’m mistaken, I hope that MCL would let me know. 🙂

    I assume, for example, that she wrote this wonderful blog entry about Crystal’s original song “Farmer’s Daughter” because I posted a link to it in the comments following the entry about Siobhan’s Idolatry interview.


  26. In retrospect an equally good response would have been that for the safe return of the hijacked thread I am asking $2 million in small unmarked bills. But I thought it was better to be contrite.


  27. thank you for producing such an interesting website. I know just enough about vocal technique to want to know more, so I’ve popped in and out since i discovered you a few months ago.

    thanks also for the post about Crystal. I’d like to share some information about her –

    She was singing her originals along with Jewel covers at set breaks at local venues at 13. She had written Ohio Flies By, Dreaming Is For Babies, Put Your Guitar Down and Sandman, along with Grey Haired Rock Star, a realistic and tender tribute to her mentors, Bobby May (Frankie May, her bass player, is Bobby’s son) and Ron Rasberry, before she came to Chicago just after her 18th birthday. (there is a story about her here that documents this)

    She reportedly has a huge songbook – as I understand it, only a relatively small number have been recorded. Her originals can be found on youtube by simply searching “Crystal Bowersox”

    Her first video for youtube was her production, filmed in her Chicago apartment

    followed by Don’t Leave Me, filmed in black and white in Chicago -

    She is immensely gifted, but she doesn’t need me to sat that. Her body of work speaks for itself.


  28. I’m so glad you discovered Farmers Daughter. I hope you will find time to listen to this song as well, very upbeat for Crystal. The song is called “Put Your Guitar Down”


  29. This little gem was posted on MJ’s blog. It’s a thirteen-year-old Crystal performing at the annual Huron Boat Basin show in Huron, OH.


  30. Wow. What a sweet voice. And such stage presence at such a young age. Amazing. I can’t wait to see her out on her own and not constricted by the parameters of AI. Doing originals, etc.




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