Dean Owens and Calexico’s Joey Burns at Celtic Connections – World Premiere

5,000 mile collaboration between Scotland’s Dean Owens and legendary Calexico front man Joey Burns, to premiere new album Sinner’s Shrine, as the world’s biggest winter music festival goes online


Scary Biscuits Promotions

Award winning Scottish singer songwriter Dean Owens was never going to let a mere 5,000 miles, a global pandemic and COVID 19 lockdowns in 3 countries stop him premiering his highly anticipated next album, Sinner’s Shrine, at Celtic Connections.

The show combines his talents with desert noir icon Joey Burns of Calexico, Calexico trumpet player Martin Wenk and his old Felsons bass player Kevin McGuire.

The show was recorded long distance with Dean and Kevin in Scotland, Joey in Idaho, USA and Martin in Berlin, Germany. The audio and video was then melded together by the talents of sound engineer Garry Boyle (Slate Room Studios) and film maker Ruth Barrie (Waltzer Films) into a dynamic, atmospheric and very special event, which will be broadcast on Sun 31st Jan.

Joey Burns and John Convertino, having been an in demand rhythm section for numerous Americana acts, became Calexico in 1995, developing the music over the years into their trademark “desert noir” sound - a thrilling mix of Latino border rock and Morricone influenced soundscapes. Years to Burn, their 2019 collaboration with Iron and Wine, was a celebrated worldwide hit, and their non stop global touring was only halted in 2020 because of the pandemic.

Sinner’s Shrine is the latest stop on a lifetime’s journey - from the post industrial heartlands of Scotland to the untrammelled wide-open vistas of the American west - for troubadour and musical adventurer, Dean Owens. A chance meeting with Joey Burns when Owens visited Tucson during an American tour in 2019, developed into an invitation to record at the legendary WaveLab Studio in Tucson, with Joey, John Convertino and regular Calexico musicians.

The Sinner’s Shrine recording was done in early 2020 just before the pandemic struck. The result is a Dean Owens album like no other, as he surrenders to the intoxicating sounds of the south west. Audiences will need to wait a little longer than originally planned for its release, which has been pandemic-delayed till Sep 2021, but appetites can be whetted with the release of a series of related EPs – The Desert Trilogy - in Mar, May and July this year.

The songs on The Desert Trilogy EPs include a track each from Sinner’s Shrine plus songs from the album sessions and new ones recorded long distance with John Convertino and musicians from Calexico, during 2020. There are stories of love and lust, sinners and saints, the displaced, the wanderers and the border ghosts. The songs showcase Owens’ gift for storytelling, with his searingly soulful voice, infused with the dramatic Panavision desert sweep of Calexico, with Burns’ guttural guitar, Convertino’s masterful drumming and percussion, and sweeping mariachi horns.

The first single release is New Mexico, out on 5 Feb. New Mexico was originally recorded for Dean’s first solo album, The Droma Tapes, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The original recording was very lo fi, made with Kevin McGuire in a tiny cottage in the Highlands on DAT tape. As Dean says: “The Droma Tapes is like the black and white version, and I always thought New Mexico should have the full Technicolor treatment. And now it has!”

Tour dates:

Date City Venue
31st January 2021 Glasgow Celtic Connections

Dean Owens and Calexico's Joey Burns and Martin Wenk, with Kevin McGuire.
World Premiere of songs from Dean Owens new album, Sinner's Shrine. Performance recorded especially for Celtic Connections (the world's biggest winter music festival), which has gone completely online for 2021.

January 21, 2021 9:45pm ET by Scary Biscuits Promotions  

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