Dean Owens review…October 11, 2018….

DEAN OWENS

SOUTHERN WIND

AT THE HELM RECORDS

THE LAST SONG-SOUTHERN WIND–ELVIS WAS MY BROTHER–WHEN THE WHISKEY’S NOT ENOUGH–BAD NEWS–NO WAY AROUND IT–LOUISVILLE LIP–ANYTHING HELPS–MOTHER–FAMOUS LAST WORDS–MADEIRA STREET–LOVE PREVAILS

Dean Owens is widely hailed as on of the premier Scottish troubadours, and was indeed the first Scotsman to play a featured  showcase during the Americana Fest in 2017.  No stranger to this town, he’s recorded his latest album, “Southern Wind,” here, with Neilson Hubbard producing.  This set shows precisely why he is such an incredible artist.  The twelve originals herein run the proverbial gauntlet of emotions, from love, loss, hope, despair, and even homelessness, before finding redemption.

There are highlights aplenty.  Leading off is a sprightly tune that deals again with the brevity of life, urging us to “sing The Last Song, sing it while you can!”  When the love of your life is gone and you’re “all out of tears,” sometimes “The Whiskey’s Not Enough.”  Dean tackles overcoming life’s obstacles by meeting the challenge head-on, and “jump right in” and climb that mountain, tho it may be steep, for there’s “No Way Around It.”  The plight of the homeless is addressed in “Anything Helps,” while he closes the set with that hope for redemption, where, even tho there are many trials in life, and maybe “we tried our best and failed,” in the end, “Love Prevails.”

We had two favorites, too.  A unique, rockabilly-ish arrangement focuses on a young man growing up without a father, eventually finding solace thru an old cassette of Presley music, who “introduced me to the blues, gospel, country, and Blue Suede Shoes,” “Elvis Was My Brother, and my best friend!”  (Check out that “Marie’s The Name”-inspired ending!)  That same young man grows up wanting to be “just like you,” from the “Rumble In The Jungle” to the “Thrilla In Manila,” a tune that is a bittersweet ode to “the greatest of all time,” the ol’ “Louisville Lip!”  This one is enhanced by acoustic guitar and a muted trumpet in the background.

Dean Owens is a veritable maelstrom of emotion thru the characters in his songs.  He combines tales of folks to whom we can all relate with excellent musicianship, and rides it all along a powerful “Southern Wind!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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