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Scottish singer-songwriter Dean Owens has been a constant on the UK and beyond music scene for a number of years. I believe I would be on safe ground if I were to claim today Owens sounds as sharp as he ever has. Recorded in Neilsen Hubbard’s Mr Lemon Studios in Nashville Owens captures a healthy slice of music of across the pond, he does after all have East Nashville multi-talented great Will Kimbrough join him!
Awash in energy Owens’ latest album Southern Wind has him display the full gamut of his music, steeped in Americana. But Owens has always been that way.
Whether with his old band, The Felsons, Whisky Hearts, solo, or his more recent partnership with Amy Geddes. Owens music has always been filled with uninhibited adventure.
Breezing along, he dips his feet into themes from the other side of the Atlantic as he speaks, with great affection of Elvis Presley (“Elvis Was My Brother”) and of a mellow note he speaks of occasions “When The Whisky’s Not Enough”. His moody lyrics are wrapped in among other things feisty Dobro, piano, powerful rhythm and bruising electric lead guitar to prompt the listener to cock an ear to what he has to say. “Bad News” isn’t a bunch of laughs, but such is his lived in though still warm tones and keyboards he weaves a stout fabric of everyday life and of how we can so easily be hurt.
Opening track “The Last Song” embraces the music and legacy of Ronnie Lane and Ian MacLagan (Small Faces) as he takes a trip down memory land. “No Way Around It” is a song to parallel and most worthy of mention alongside a song written by Buddy Miller. Such the depth and big bodied sound, as he has spirited female harmony vocals and a terrific wall-to-wall accompaniment that has of all things, banjo join a heavy rhythm. While swirling electric lead guitar is given licence to burn the paint off.
After a couple of standard fare Owens lifts the tempo considerably on “Mother”, this as he throws off the shackles. Plus you have slow burner “Famous Last Words” lend a melancholy feel as the album progresses in a steady, if not ground moving fashion. Better follows. This as he slows things down and with an intimate feel throughout he nails “Love Prevails”, as for its value as a well-penned composition there is no doubt. It’s another of those defying moments on Southern Wind, his lyrics beautifully nourished by stellar support (to go with some of the most authoritative vocals on show) it closes the official track listing. Prior to a foreboding additional song, that powers forth to the accompaniment of dobro, mandolin and rock solid rhythm. This as Owens speaks of going over the mountain to the golden hill, and it is well worth not only a listen but listing!
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