Celtic desert noir - Dean Owens with members of Calexico and Grant-Lee Phillips

Award winning Scottish singer songwriter with new release and online gig with Calexico's Joey Burns and Martin Wenk


Scary Biscuits Promotions

‘a hands across the water meeting of great songs and minds’
Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections

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 2 continents/3 countries stop him recording a live show with Calexico’s Joey Burns (USA) and trumpeter Martin Wenk (Germany). It premiered at Celtic Connections, and is now available online at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The show also includes Dean’s old Felsons bass player Kevin McGuire.

A highlight of Celtic Connections, it 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, now available online, on demand, for a limited time for Edinburgh Fringe audiences, 16 – 30 August.

The show features live performances of songs from Dean’s upcoming Sinner’s Shrine album (recorded with members of Calexico in Tucson AZ, and scheduled for release in Jan 2022, jointly on Eel Pie Records (UK) and CRS (Netherlands)).

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 album 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 US south western deserts. Audiences will need to wait a little longer than originally planned for its release, which has been pandemic-delayed till Jan 2022, but appetites can be whetted with the release of a series of related EPs – The Desert Trilogy - in Mar, May and Sep 2021.

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. 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 third and final EP is Ghosts (out 3 Sep) with lead single The Hopeless Ghosts featuring harmony vocals by Grant-Lee Phillips (Gilmore Girls TV show, Grant Lee Buffalo) on 27 Aug.

Inspired by a remark by the late, great Townes Van Zandt, The Hopeless Ghosts also features on Sinner’s Shine, and is a brass soaked, atmospheric paen to the displaced, the wanderers and the border ghosts.

There are standout contributions from Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino, trumpet by Jacob Valenzuela, pedal steel by Paul Niehaus and accordion by Tom Hagerman. (The song is given the live treatment in the Edinburgh fringe show).

“terrific” Bob Harris (BBC Radio 2)
"wonderfully rich music joining two continents" - Paul Sexton (BBC Radio 2)

Tour dates:

Date City Venue
Wed 1st Sep London Green Note
Sat 4th Sep Suffolk Maverick Festival

August 24, 2021 5:30am ET by Scary Biscuits Promotions  

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