Kenny Owens ... Review from The Alternate Root

3/20/2018

 

 

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​Kenny Owens (from the album Colored by the Blue)
Soft strums match the easy time set by Kenny Owens as the Tennessee songman grabs a guitar and a pole, opening his latest release, Colored by the Blue, with “Gone Fishing”. The track marks the pace for Colored by the Blue with gentle rhythms while Kenny Owens offers his words and music as a healing balm as the album looks deep into a mirror, letting the gentle sway of rhythm transform the “Weight of the World” into a drop in the bucket as it makes use of horn blasts to ward off the rising water in “Fourteen Days of Rain”, sinks into self-pity as a message from the past stokes resolve in “The Small Stuff”, and follows a fiddle call into “Hours Before Dawn”.
With a nod to Gram Parsons, Kenny Owens dubs his music Cosmic American, letting the depth of his Roots dig down below the surface of the simple stories and the wealth of emotion the characters wear on full display. Classic Country backs Kenny Owens as he tips his musical hat to offer “Good Luck to You” and welcomes the sunshine feeling rising from being “Back in L.O.V.E. Again”. Colored by the Blue points to “Missy Brown” as it follows a traditional lifestyle down a rabbit hole of questionable choices and swallows a spoonful of bitter “Sugar” on a rock’n’roll rhythm as Kenny Owens closes out the album by singing his resume with “Troubadour Travelin’ Man”.

Look Both Ways CD Baby Review

J Philbrick   ****       Breathe of fresh air! Look Both Ways is a wonderful old-style country album with great arrangements of Owens' songs. Fine musicianship by the standard grouping of acoustic and electric guitars with bass, drums, keys and -best of all - great pedal steel in the Paul Franklin/Sneaky Pete tradition. Bebo is very tasty in his picking. Song topics are nicely varied, with no mention of loving his truck, or his gun, drinkin' with his boys, etc. As I said, very refreshing! His voice is unusual, but it conveys the meaning of the lyrics nicely. Closest resemblance is Rodney Crowell, and that ain't bad. There are lyrics, like Backburnin', and Look Both Ways that stick in my brain and I find myself singing them to myself. A good thing: i.e., they are catchy. This is a very good, feel good album by a pro.

7 Inches Vinyl Review

Friday, January 2, 2015 Kenny Owens "Trouble's Coming Round" on Astute Records Kenny Owens made his way to Hendersonville, TN by way of Brooklyn, NY and somewhere along the way picked up the blues, folk and country influences as a session bassist for a number of notable artists before striking out on his own with his second full length Look Both Ways at the end of 2014. A-Side's "Trouble's Coming Round" reminds me of a Sun Records rambling '60s Johnny Cash style country start where he was beginning to move away from the heavy reverb folk standards and into the darker stuff. Kenny has a natural vibrato in his vocal and the track lists the ways trouble is headed his way in a classic warning story narrative style like Waylon, Willie and Kris' pure american songwriting. Hendersonville, TN probably shares a lot in common with the country music capital and this has that collaborative session sound from a guy who's been around and knows exactly what he wants. A little like Vic Chestnut in high tempo swing with a pop rhythm section and an ironic take on a optimistic sounding track that should be anything but with all that trouble barreling down on him. B-Side's "On The Dole" is a different version than the one on the full length and opens with a steel guitar and Kenny's more somber side taking a conservative line with this character that feels entitled to sitting around on his butt and having everything come for free. Could be found playing at the 2016 republican convention if they have their way. Makes sense this would be a relaxed kicking back steel meandering tune existing just outside of town where days take forever, impromptu junkyard in the front yard and this guy can't even lift up his feet with a shuffle beat and measured acoustic chords. Goes as far as getting into his medical situation, his girlfriend, so there's not much redeeming about this guy. Makes for an entertaining track but is the narrator part of the 1%? Call me a communist but I don't have a problem with helping people out as I don't see many people asking for handouts in my parts.
Kenny Owens' Walking in St James is a breath of fresh air from a time almost forgotten. This album is not about perfection, but about truth. His words hold authority and give an authentic pulse that can only be found now days from a dusty record. The album has an interesting flow, and a wide palette of human emotions are rolled out as each track hits a different nerve, memory, and reaction. The production of the album is very clean, almost too clean, yet all one can listen to, is simply Kenny Owens. You almost forget there are other instruments, you almost forget it is an album being played through the stereo or headphones. It feels live, it feels historic, but what Kenny Owens has made is simply---Real.

Cody Brooks
of Carolina Dye



Freight Train Boogie Podcasts w/Jim Lauderdale

Kenny Owens featured on 
Podcast #72 & Podcast #109