Bowersox spent five years in Chicago before moving back home to give birth to her son, Tony. She continued performing in local venues, though, and auditioned for American Idol during a weekend trip to Chicago in 2009. Although her blonde dreadlocks and earthy vocals made her a rarity among most Idol contenders, Bowersox quickly became an audience favorite, breezing through each round of the competition with performances of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," "Me and Bobby McGee," and other rootsy songs. Following Siobhan Magnus
' elimination in early May, Bowersox was the only female contestant left, and she eventually finished as the runner-up to American Idol champion Lee DeWyze
. Her debut album, Farmer's Daughter, appeared later that year.
Farmer's Daughter received a standard post-Idol media push, but the album failed to turn into a hit. The following year, RCA Records
went under a restructuring that left Bowersox without a label. In 2012, she signed with Shanachie Records
, and the label teamed her with producer Steve Berlin
(best known as a member of Los Lobos
). The resulting record, All That for This, showed up in March of 2013. The next year, she issued the Promises EP. Her third album, Alive, arrived in the summer of 2017. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi