Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 A Hatful of Songs Dean Owens The Stand’s New Town Theatre - Lower Hall Review 11th August

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A Hatful of Songs at The Stand’s New Town Theatre - Lower Hall, features Dean Owens, one of Scotland’s most popular singer/songwriters, presenting his music in a very brave and unpredictable show format.  A Hatful of Songs is, as the show title suggests, simply that.  Dean has asked people via his website and online social media to give him their favourite song requests, and the result is the titles of some 60 songs or so thrown into a hat for members of the audience and sometimes Dean himself to pick out at random for playing live on stage.  Add in to the format that there are also some “wild card” blank strips of paper where anything not already picked can be asked for, and the result is a wonderful surprise package where nobody in the room, not even Dean Owens, has any clue what the show set list will contain.

Picked out of the hat tonight, with the occasional audience request too, were new songs, old songs not played for a long time live, and some very emotionally and personal to Dean songs.  The first two songs out of the hat in order were the title track from Dean’s latest album “Southern Wind” and “The Last Song” (which quite rightly was held back until the end of the set).

Taking a completely random set list format like this is something that many performers simply would not have enough material  to use,  and even if they did, would they be brave enough (or foolhardy enough) to do it as it opens up so many unpredictable elements.  Dean Owens, however, is different from many artists. He is one of the best songwriters to come out of Scotland in a long time and if anything proves this fact, it is the quality of the random songs that were picked from the hat tonight.  Many of these songs are from Dean’s own hand –“Julie’s Moon”, “The Louisville Lip” and “Sally’s Song” to name but a few.  Others were Dean’s interpretation of songs by singers and songwriters that have inspired him over the years , and his cover of the Johnny cash classic, “I Still Miss Someone” was simply a beautiful version of a beautiful song.

Through the songs picked out here, you also as an audience get to explore with Dean Owens the man behind the music as he has never been an artist afraid to put his own personal experiences of life, happiness, and loss into his music.

Also in the set list, but not the hat, the penultimate song of the evening, Dean’s new single –“Elvis Was My Brother”.  Again, this song is about a real person in Dean’s life and has his own story interwoven into it too.  This personal honesty weaves its way through so many of Dean’s songs, and that, plus his humour (which can be dark at time, but we are like that in Leith) and connection with an audience is what makes him such a popular singer, songwriter and performer.

Dean takes another trip into the unknown with this show at the same venue on Tuesday 14th, so if you want to play musical roulette with Dean and listen to some great songs along the way, don’t miss the show.

 

Review by Tom King

 

A Hatful of Songs Dean Owens

The Stand’s New Town Theatre - Lower Hall

22:30

Aug 11, 14

1 hour 10 minutes

Suitability: 16+ (Restriction)

Country: United Kingdom - Scotland

Group: Dean Owens / The Stand Comedy Club

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