Making a Scene Presents Gerry Casey’s Interview with Dean Owens
“Certainly Dean’s pedigree as a performer is never in doubt with Great Grandparents circus owners and performers ranging from Clowns to Lion Tamers . Hear Dean’s tell about his amazing family history, and how he found through a family member doing a school project. Dean also talks about his new album Sinners Shrine. The background to some of the tracks on the album including the title track . Again this is another Turn It Up interview you will not want to miss.”
Award winning Scottish singer songwriter Dean Owens is one of UK’s finest troubadours, with fans including authors Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting), Ian Rankin (Rebus) and BBC legend “Whispering” Bob Harris.
IRVINE WELSH: Dean Owens’ music and story feels like a tribute to the songs inside us, the tales of our lives, reaching into us to find the threads of our common humanity… As a vocalist Dean is possessed with a voice which soars to the exuberant highs and swoops to melancholic lows that I’ve witnessed break hearts far, far harder than mine. And it perfectly delivers those beautiful songs of love and loss, the pulse of all our lives. (From the sleeve notes for The Man From Leith)
His long awaited album, Sinner’s Shrine, was recorded in Tucson USA, with desert noir legends Calexico, as he explores some exciting new directions. Sinner’s Shrine is released Feb 2022 (jointly on Eel Pie Records (London) and Continental Record Services (Netherlands)). It was preceded in 2021 by a series of well received EPs, The Desert Trilogy, comprising a few songs from the album, some from the album sessions and some recorded long distance during lockdown.
The Desert Trilogy EPs and Sinner’s Shrine are the latest stop on a lifetime’s journey, from the post industrial heartlands of Scotland to the untrammelled wide-open vistas of the American desert states of California, Arizona and New Mexico, as Dean surrenders to the intoxicating sounds of the south west. There are stories of love and lust, sinners and saints, the displaced, the wanderers and the border ghosts. The songs showcase Owens’ gift for storytelling, with his searingly soulful voice infused with the dramatic Panavision desert sweep of Calexico, with Joey Burns’ guttural guitar, John Convertino’s masterful drumming and percussion, and sweeping mariachi horns.
A son of Leith, the toughened sinew of a Scottish heritage runs through Dean Owens like suspension bridge cable. His is the pugilist’s stare, the poet’s heart, the scholar’s ear for the origins of his craft and an unflinching honesty; all worn lightly, wielded with respect. His music conjures the open road’s wild romanticism, whilst searching for and combining the primal sounds of two very different countries, distilling the Scottish and Americana into a unique blend. Applying a genre to Dean’s songs is to do them a disservice. He’s a musical polymath, a restless troubadour searching for that place where the twin motherlodes of home and muse meet – the unfettered enthusiasm of a rock ‘n’ roller coupled with the sympathetic delivery of folk’s best storytellers.
Scottish, Americana in a unique blend… No Depression (review of Southern Wind)
He is a riveting live performer. A Dean Owens gig isn’t just about the songs. Dean is also a witty raconteur (“a blether” in the Scottish parlance), with entertaining anecdotes about his travels and the songs – from an 8 album solo career (including a 2020 Best Of… retrospective), and his days with Scotland’s original Americana/alt country/cowpunk band, the Felsons – peppered throughout his set. His performances can take his audience from tears to laughter to rocking out, in the course of just a few songs.
… magical… one of the happiest and most life affirming shows of the year… Americana UK (review: Dean Owens & The Southerners, Dec 2019)
In 2019 Dean won UK Song of the Year Award at the Americana Music Association UK Awards for the title track of his 2018 release Southern Wind (co-written with long term collaborator Will Kimbrough); in 2017 he became the first Scottish musician to officially showcase at the prestigious AmericanaFest Nashville.
In 2018/19 he covered over 20,000 miles and 12 states in USA , with performances including Levitt Shell Memphis, Albino Skunk Music Festival NC, Pensacola Festival FL, and Crossroads Music Festival IN, performing a mix of solo shows and with various collaborators including Will Kimbrough, Wild Ponies and The Two Tracks. He has toured with The Mavericks, Grant-Lee Phillips, Will Hoge and opened for artists including Roseanne Cash, Jason Isbell and Patty Griffin. Dean’s music has taken him around the world, especially Europe, USA and Australia: from Arizona to Adelaide, from Leith to Louisville to Lerwick.
his songwriting craft can stand proudly with the best … albums like this don’t come around too often… a landmark album… FATEA (review of Southern Wind)
In March 2020 he created and curated a new festival Cash Back in Fife celebrating the legacy and inspiration of The Man in Black. In October 2021 he participated in The Official Johnny Cash Heritage Festival (broadcast online from Cash’s boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas, USA) – talking about Cash Back in Fife, and performing some songs.
He is proud to be a member of Buffalo Blood collective (“a US/UK Americana supergroup” – Paul Sexton BBC), with award winning producer/musician Neilson Hubbard, Audrey Spillman and Joshua Britt. Their debut self-titled album was released in 2019, and premiered at the UK’s leading winter music festival, Celtic Connections. Buffalo Blood was recorded on location in the New Mexico desert, with songs about displacement, migration, refugees and a belief in the power of art and the human spirit to connect us all.