Dean Owens: 'I'm never happier than when I'm listening to some misery'
- David Pollock
- 5 August 2018
This article is from 2018
Leith's Americana singer-songwriter lets the audience choose his setlist
With seven albums of signature Americana behind him, as well as records with his old group the Felsons and what he calls 'official' bootlegs, Leith-raised singer-songwriter Dean Owens finds it hard to make up a setlist for his shows. 'So I thought I'd let the audience do it this time,' he says, referring to the concept behind this year's Hatful of Songs Fringe gigs. 'I've been encouraging people to message me via social media with their requests, I'll put them into one of my many hats and draw them out during the show. That way I don't get the blame if I don't play someone's favourite.'
Currently receiving praise in places like Mojo for his latest album Southern Wind, recorded in Nashville with producer Neilson Hubbard and guitarist and singer-songwriter Will Kimbrough, Owens' work skilfully blends youthful influences like Aztec Camera and Elvis Costello with his adult Americana heroes, from Gram Parsons to Tom Petty, Hank Williams to Elvis Presley. 'In terms of kindred spirits, I guess I relate to the classic singer-songwriters most,' he says. 'Anyone who's ever put a sweet, sad melody over some chords. I tend to be drawn to the more melancholy side, I'm never happier than when I'm listening to some misery.'
So how many songs can his fans choose from? 'As many as I can get in there,' he says. 'I guess I might need a big hat! It's taken all the years I've been doing this to amass these songs, and I'm happy to go way back with the requests. Anything goes. I think it's only in recent years that I've started to find my true voice, though, I'm a lot more honest in my writing now. The older I get the more I tend to write about the more personal stuff, like family, friends, loss, life and death. I'm not scared to wear my heart on my sleeve.'
The Stand's New Town Theatre, 11, 14 Aug, 10.30pm, £14 (£12).