“Southern Wind” the new album from Dean Owens, and his first for his newly signed to UK label “At The Helm Records” was released on 16th February 2018 and for Dean Owens fans old and new, there are some musical gems here.
Dean Owens has built himself a solid reputation over the years as one of the best singer/songwriters to come out of Scotland in many years, and his musical travels via Leith to Nashville and back again may have at times taken him the long way round to where he wanted to go, but this album simply proves that the long road there and back has been worth it in the end.
“Southern Wind” was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, with the same team that were responsible for Dean’s “Into the Sea” album – producer Neilson Hubbard, award winning guitarist (and long time musical collaborator) Will Kimbrough plus some other great musicians.
This album will on some tracks sound immediately different from some previous works, but this is simply Dean Owens pushing the musical envelope of sounds and music a little further than he has up until now explored in some areas, and a clear indication that as a musician and songwriter Dean Owens is growing in stature in both areas. Dean could so easily sit back on his musical back catalogue as there are already many classics in it, but instead there is that inquisitive need to explore the new that all good musicians and songwriters have. In my own opinion, an artist must always be given room to step outside of what people expect of them at times as otherwise they run the very real risk of becoming stale and a musical parody of their earlier achievements. For fans of that classic Dean Owens sound though, there are still more than enough songs that are easily identifiable as Dean’s.
One of the first things (apart from the music) that anyone will notice about this album is its high production values. All too often these days, too little time is spent on production and getting that sound just right as artists concentrate more on digital download sales. This is an old fashioned album designed to be heard on a good audio system in the comfort of your home, or maybe just driving down some dusty road to Nashville (well at least in your mind’s eye).
The title track from this album “Southern Wind” is available now as a single, but there are so many other tracks that could easily have been singles too. As usual, Dean Owens has not refrained from writing about his own personal life and some painful experiences in that life, and “Madeira Street” is a classic example of Dean’s rare ability to expose his inner feelings to the public with such honesty.
Another favourite track of mine on this album is “Louisville Lip”. Dean has an obvious love for boxing and this from the heart tribute to the “still greatest of them all” Muhammad Ali is a classic Dean Owens gem. On this song, Dean Owens obviously shares a sporting hero with me – a man whose influence extended far beyond any of his legendary achievements in the boxing ring.
Southern Wind is a highly polished production and package from a highly polished singer/songwriter who is proving beyond any doubt that you can come from Leith and still write songs as well as any of the country greats; it is the feeling inside you that matters and how you express it, not where you come from.
SOUTHERN WIND TRACK LISTING
1 The Last Song
2 Southern Wind
3 Elvis Was My Brother
4 When the Whisky's Not Enough
5 Bad News
6 No Way Around It
7 Louisville Lip
8 Anything Helps
10 Famous Last Words
11 Madeira Street
12 Love Prevails
For more information on the album and Dean Owens visit
Review by Tom King