Owen Campbell review…August 17, 2016…





Owen Campbell hails from waaay down under in Canberra, Australia.  He got his first guitar as a gift from his musician father at the age of nine.  He cut his teeth on folks such as Dylan and Van Morrison, enamored with the Celtic sounds they often incorporated within their music.  He made it all the way to the Finals of the “Australia’s Got Talent” TV show. Great talent always seems to find a way, and soon Owen was under the “producer’s eye” of Devon Allman.  Devon brought Owen to Memphis to the High/Low Studios to record “Breathing Bullets,” for Roc Records.

His comfortable-as-a-glass-of-Scotch voice is perfect for his storyteller’s vision of the ten songs on this set.  He’s on vocals, guitar, and harp, with a backing corps that includes Landon Moore on bass, Ben Isackson on drums, and Rick Steff on keys.  The plaintive title cut leads off, as he recounts the tale of “scratchin’ out a living off of dirty pavement,” also an allusion to his days spent busking on the streets of his homeland.  The acoustic-themed “Howling” is Owen’s plea to a lover, begging “won’t you let me in,” and comparing himself to a “Baskerville hound” in the process!  On “Rise,” he has us all take a long look at ourselves, as, sometimes, we are our own worst enemies.  However, by song’s end, he indeed “rises” to gain redemption.

We had two favorites, too.  The percussion-heavy story of the Indian warrior who meets a horrific and untimely demise teaches us to be satisfied with who we are and what we have and not end up like the “Eagle Man.”  And, the set closes on a bluesy, good-time note.  As much as Owen enjoys the traveling troubadour’s life, sometimes there’s nothin’ better than to “crack the wine–I’m on the midnight train, Comin’ Home To You!”

With an engaging voice, command of his guitar and harp, and ease in telling a story-in-song, it is no wonder that Owen Campbell won over so many Australian fans on their national TV.  With a strong set such as “Breathing Bullets” and upcoming Stateside dates with Devon and Andy McKee,  he’s going to make a legion of fans in this country as well!     Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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