b. Scotland. Singer-songwriter and guitarist Owens was a member of the popular Scottish country rock unit the Felsons, helping the band record three acclaimed albums in the late 90s. His 2001 solo debut resulted from sessions in a lochside cottage in the Highlands of Scotland with Felsons bass player Kevin McGuire, recorded directly onto a portable DAT machine. Released with a minimum of cleaning up and overdubbing, the album was a delightful lo-fi excursion that was high on atmosphere and low on artifice. Owens spent the next two years on the road, spending a large amount of time in the USA touring with the Mavericks, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris and Chip Taylor. His next album, 2004’s My Town, was recorded with a stellar cast list of guest musicians including former Flying Burrito Brothers pedal steel guitarist Al Perkins, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter Will Kimbrough, and Scottish artist Karine Polwart. The album was an accomplished Americana collection with a lyrical heart set firmly in Owens’ native Scotland.
Owens decamped to Nashville to record the 2007 follow-up Whisky Hearts, with Perkins and Kimbrough again on hand to help out alongside the ex-Mavericks rhythm section of Paul Deakin and Robert Reynolds. This thoughtful, melodic and thoroughly engaging album was hailed as one of the finest singer-songwriter releases of the year.