The pulse of all our lives… Irvine Welsh
One of my favourite artists… very special… Bob Harris (BBC)
Best UK Act 2021, Best UK Act/Best UK Album 2022 – Americana UK Readers Poll
#2 Album of the Year 2022 (Sinner’s Shrine) – Heaven Magazine Readers Poll (Netherlands)
Award winning Scottish singer songwriter Dean Owens is one of UK’s finest troubadours, with fans including authors Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting), Ian Rankin (whose iconic character Rebus has Dean’s CDs on playlist!) and BBC legend “Whispering” Bob Harris.
IRVINE WELSH: Dean Owens’ music and story feels like a tribute to the songs inside us, the tales of our lives, reaching into us to find the threads of our common humanity… As a vocalist Dean is possessed with a voice which soars to the exuberant highs and swoops to melancholic lows that I’ve witnessed break hearts far, far harder than mine. And it perfectly delivers those beautiful songs of love and loss, the pulse of all our lives. (From the sleeve notes for The Man From Leith)
Dean Owens is an adventurous, award winning, troubadour, and a natural wanderer. His 9 (official) acclaimed solo albums, mostly recorded in the US, have seen him collaborate with some of the most respected musicians and producers around (including Al Perkins, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard, Grant-Lee Phillips and most recently, Gaby Moreno and Latin rock legends, Calexico).
His most recent album, 2022’s Sinner’s Shrine (recorded in Tucson with members of Calexico) has been pulling superlative-laden reviews from publications throughout Europe, described as an intoxicating, innovative, perfect, “marriage made in heaven” collaboration. 2023’S follow up (with some tracks recorded at the Sinner’s Shrine sessions, some long distance with the Calexico musicians), El Tiradito (The Curse Of Sinner’s Shrine) is a double CD release, including an all instrumental “soundtrack for an imaginary Western”.
There are stories of love and lust, sinners and saints, the displaced, the wanderers and the border ghosts, infused with the dramatic Panavision desert sweep of Calexico, with Joey Burns’ guttural guitar, John Convertino’s masterful drumming and percussion, and sweeping mariachi horns.
Dean’s music has been described as a unique blend of Scottish roots and Americana, but in truth it’s hard to pin down to a single genre. With each album he has pushed his own boundaries, constantly exploring, as his travels have taken him from Scotland’s post industrial heartlands to Nashville, New York and the panoramic vistas of the US deserts.
Scottish, Americana in a unique blend… No Depression (review of Southern Wind)
Dean is a consummate live performer, with a searingly soulful voice and a wealth of stories, earworm inducing melodies and songs; the heart of a rock n roller and the spellbinding delivery of folk’s best storytellers. With Sinner’s Shrine he has added desert noir and Latin nuances to his already extensive musical palette (with his influences ranging across country, classical, punk and indie, through jazz, folk and rock). 2022’s highlights included performances at the iconic Edinburgh Castle, as well as festivals in Scotland, Germany and the Netherlands.
His current band The Sinners – a hugely talented, tight ensemble including electric guitar, bass and trumpet – can tour as a compact quartet, or, as at 2023’s sold out Celtic Connections showcase, a very special 7 piece.
… magical… one of the happiest and most life affirming shows of the year… Americana UK (review: Dean Owens & The Southerners, Dec 2019)
Dean is currently working on a new album, Spirit Ridge, recording in Italy in the land of his lion tamer ancestor, for release in Summer/Fall 2024.
In 2019 Dean won UK Song of the Year Award at the Americana Music Association UK Awards for the title track of his 2018 release Southern Wind (co-written with long term collaborator Will Kimbrough); in 2017 he became the first Scottish musician to officially showcase at the prestigious AmericanaFest Nashville.
He has toured with The Mavericks, Grant-Lee Phillips, Will Hoge and opened for artists including Roseanne Cash, Jason Isbell and Patty Griffin. Dean’s music has taken him around the world, especially Europe, USA and Australia: from Arizona to Adelaide, from Leith to Louisville to Lerwick.
his songwriting craft can stand proudly with the best … albums like this don’t come around too often… a landmark album… FATEA (review of Southern Wind)
In March 2020 he created and curated a new festival Cash Back in Fife celebrating the legacy and inspiration of The Man in Black. In October 2021 he was invited to participate in The Official Johnny Cash Heritage Festival (broadcast online from Cash’s boyhood home in Dyess, Arkansas, USA)
He is a member of Buffalo Blood collective (“a US/UK Americana supergroup” – Paul Sexton BBC), with Grammy nominated, award winning producer/musician Neilson Hubbard, Audrey Spillman and Joshua Britt. Their debut self-titled album was released in 2019, and premiered at Celtic Connections. It was recorded on location in the New Mexico desert, with songs about displacement, migration, refugees and the trails of tears.
Dean also works occasionally as a producer, including on Ags Connolly‘s acclaimed first two albums and most recently with Scottish singer songwriter Kirsten Adamson for her album Landing Place.
Best UK Artist and Best UK Album – Americana-UK Readers Poll 2022
Best UK Artist– Americana-UK Readers Poll 2021
UK Song Of The Year 2019 – UK Americana Music Association
RECENT PRESS REVIEWS
Owens sings with a dark majesty that matches the gigantic emotional pull of his songs… Mojo ****
more intoxicating than the most treacherous of mezcals… Rolling Stone (France) ****
The union between Owens and Calexico is just perfect… Buscadero (Italy) ****
hauntingly beautiful album… Badische Zeitung (Germany)
varied, vibrant and thoroughly fascinating… American Songwriter
one of the most interesting and innovative artists in Americana… Lonesome Highway
visionary and rewarding… Folk Radio UK
beguiling desert noir… as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon… UNCUT (8/10)
a mystical musical adventure… a dreamy dramatic affair… Record Collector Magazine ****
a glorious transatlantic collaboration… The Scotsman ****
immense… No Depression
adventurous, atmospheric, thoughtful and downright exceptional… FATEA
Magnificent… Rocking Magpie
an extraordinarily great album… Blabber’n’Smoke
dark and atmospheric… class… Blues Blues
Scotland is birthing some amazing artists and perhaps the brightest jewel in a star encrusted crown is Dean Owens… The combination of Dean Owens and Calexico sounds like a marriage made in heaven… The Midlands Rocks
RECORD OF THE WEEK – Ralph McLean Country (BBC Radio Ulster), Celtic Music Radio
RECENT LIVE REVIEWS
a wild and swampy romp… Had the audience transfixed… Americana UK
a pleasing blend of Scottish roots and Americana…. a beautiful performance… had people dancing at the back of the room… and the whole room singing… Hands Up For Trad
poetic subtlety… and lyrics with metaphorical elegance. Musically, the meeting of Gaelic melancholy and folky country lightness… Gaesteliste.de
Edinburgh’s finest… Edinburgh Evening News