Dean Owens

Celtic Spirit, Country Soul

One of Scotland’s best troubadours… fabulous “Whispering” Bob Harris (BBC Radio 2)
Scotland’s most engaging and haunting singer-songwriter Irvine Welsh

Filtering his love of Americana through a gritty yet lyrical Scottish sensibility, and armed with a searingly soulful voice, Dean Owens is one of Scotland’s finest singer songwriters, with fans including Bob Harris, Irvine Welsh, Ricky Ross and Russell Brand.

Rocky, rootsy, with a touch of twang and some very earworm-generating melodies, his songs draw as much from his Scottish roots, especially his home town of Leith, as from his US heroes. The emotional honesty shines through as he sings stories about people and places with a warm, natural exuberance counterpointing the melancholy. His music crosses genres and defies categorisation, with airplay on a wide range of shows including americana, country, folk, rock, indie and mainstream. Recent sessions include BBC Radio 2, Radio London, BBC Radio Scotland.
Dean and his Whisky Hearts band were recently seen in session on BBC Scotland’s The Quay Sessions.

In Oct 2018 Dean is heading stateside for his first US tour, including the prestigious Levitt Shell in Memphis, where Elvis Presley had his first paid performance.
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In Sep 2017 he became the first Scottish musician to officially showcase at the prestigious Americanafest (Nashville), a trip which also saw him joining the Mavericks on stage in their “All Star” line-up, and a mention in Rolling Stone.

His new CD (his 7th solo release) – Southern Wind – was released on At The Helm Records in Feb 2018, to rave 4 and 5 star reviews – including 4 stars (“excellent”) from MOJO magazine – and widespread airplay. It was officially launched at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections on 2 Feb, as part of the Showcase Scotland programme.

Like his previous album (Into the Sea), Southern Wind was recorded in Nashville, with producer Neilson Hubbard and features award winning guitarist (and long term collaborator) Will Kimbrough (who has most recently been touring as one of Emmylou Harris’s Red Dirt Boys band). The album has been attracting glowing 4 and 5 star reviews.
**** a little bit country, a little bit rock and soul… hits a sweet spot… MOJO
**** a rousing vulnerability that at times recalls Richard Ashcroft… Country Music Magazine
***** Borders on genius… Country Music People

Video for title track, including a cameo appearance by Jamie Sives (Game of Thrones, Doctor Who)

Dean is also one of a stellar lineup of Scottish singers for Northern Star: Scotland Sings Canada performance at Celtic Connections at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall which includes Hamish Stuart, James Grant, Karine Polwart, Emma Pollock, Rab Noakes and Kris Drever. A 2017 highlight of Perth’s renowned Americana jamboree, Southern Fried festival, Northern Star was originally commissioned to mark 150 years since Canada’s confederation into a single dominions, as well as celebrating the festival’s own 10th birthday.


He has several exciting new projects in development, including Redwood Mountain (with fiddle player Amy Geddes) and Buffalo Blood – a film/album collaboration with the award winning Nashville based Neighborhoods Apart Productions, recorded on location in Abiquiu (New Mexico).

His previous album Into the Sea was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Neilson Hubbard and a whole host of amazing US musicians, including award winning guitarist Will Kimbrough and renowned singer-songwriters Kim Richey and Suzy Bogguss. It was released in May 2015, on Drumfire Records, to wide acclaim and rave reviews, including a top 5 placing in the Sunday Herald’s Top 50 Albums of 2105.

3 singles from Into the SeaValentine’s Day in New York, Evergreen and Up On The Hill – were playlisted by BBC Radio Scotland, and the album was an Album of the Week on Iain Anderson Show (BBC Radio Scotland). Recent radio sessions include Bob Harris Country (BBC Radio 2), Ricky Ross Another Country, Janice Forsyth Show and Iain Anderson Show (all BBC Radio Scotland) as well as London’s House of Mercy and Tin Can Review.

The former Felsons front man has released 5 other solo albums, including the highly regarded Whisky Hearts (also recorded in Nashville), New York Hummingbird (recorded in the Big Apple with some exceptional New York-based musicians) and Cash Back (Songs I Learned From Johnny), inspired by one of his lifelong idols, Johnny Cash. His solo career has seen him tour far and wide, including in Europe, USA and Australia. Dean is also highly regarded among other musicians and has played shows and toured with Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, Joan As Policewoman, the Mavericks, Eddi Reader, John Hiatt and Nanci Griffith, to name but a few. Most recently he was delighted to open for Rosanne Cash at London’s Union Chapel.

His song Raining in Glasgow was used to promote Celtic Connections festival by BBC Radio Scotland.

Dean’s band The Whisky Hearts is a mighty all-star line-up who can rock up a storm, as well as bringing flashes of folk and a touch of twang!
Dean Owens and The Whisky Hearts (photo by Louis de Carlo)

Latest tour information

Notable previous gigs include SummerTyne Festival, regular appearances at Celtic Connections and Southern Fried Festivals, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh (including The Men From Leith show (inspired by Dean’s classic song Man From Leith) with Dick Gaughan and Blue Rose Code), Green Note London, London Folk & Roots Festival and opening spots for Rosanne Cash (London’s Union Chapel), Gretchen Peters, Jason Isbell, Patti Griffin and Grant Lee Buffalo (Feb 2017). 2016 saw him invited to tour as special guest with 3 times AMA-UK winners Danny & The Champions of the World, before returning to Nashville for the Americana Music Association festival, and showcases at the British Underground’s Bootleg BBQ, and Grimey’s Americanarama.

Press Quotes

  • For God’s sake buy this album… Russell Brand
  • Magical… Ricky Ross (BBC)
  • Rocks like the E-Street Band Uncut
  • One of the best singer songwriters in Scotland Sunday Herald
  • great little stories wound round earworm generating tunes Folk Radio UK
  • Echoes of Springsteen and the tear stained balladry of Ryan Adams The Sun
  • heart shredding folk songs full of Scottish soul… No Depression
  • lush, sweeping Americana… Spiral Earth
  • the more you listen the deeper you fall into this ocean of the heart… FATEA

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