Dean Owens review Tuesday 26th July Spiegeltent St Andrew Square Before the Fringe Edinburgh 2016 special guest singer-songwriter Kim Edgar


Dean Owens, Whisky Hearts members Amy Geddes and Craig Ross plus special guest Kim Edgar were at The Spiegeltent in St Andrew Square on a typical rainy and cold Scottish summer night.

Opening the show, and stepping in at the last minute for Yvonne Lyon who was unable to make the show due to unforeseen circumstances, was singer-songwriter Kim Edgar.  This is the first time that I have heard Kim’s music and this opening set of songs introduced me to a writer of very carefully crafted words and music.  Kim, like all good writers, can play with words, create little pictures in song and wrap hard hitting lyrics around deceptively pleasant sounding music.  The deceptive sounding “Scissors, Paper, Stone” is a fine example of this ability – a song about someone in a psychologically abusive relationship who is having her self confidence stripped away from them, yet set to music deceptively far lighter than the subject matter.

The way Kim uses words in songs like “House on the Hill”, “Anchor In The Sky” and “The Whole Rainbow” have quickly made this singer-songwriter someone I want to hear a lot more from.

The new album “Stories Untold” is officially launched on Saturday 13th August at 8pm in Stockbridge Parish Church.

For more information about Kim Edgar visit.


Dean Owens and his fellow Whisky Hearts took to the stage around 8.30 for a set that ran for around 90 minutes, and into that time packed in some old and new classics.  Some of the newer material comes from the album  “Into The Sea” which we reviewed a little while ago here.

With songs like “Valentine’s Day In New York”, “Closer To Home”, “Evergreen” and “Virginia Street” Dean effortlessly reminded us all why many people (including myself) consider him to be one of the best songwriters to come out of Scotland in a long time.  The biggest response for the set of course came for the very personal to him “Man From Leith”.

Some other great songs in this set though – “The Night Johnny Cash Played San Quentin”, and a beautiful song at the end about the personal tragedy of losing a much loved older sister – “Julie’s Moon”.  I think there are few performers out there who could write let alone perform live a song so personal  and obviously so emotional as this one.

What in part makes Dean Owens such a great songwriter is his ability to take events good and bad that happen around him in life and somehow put into words and song the feelings associated with the events in a way that an audience can relate to and share.  Any good songwriter always risks exposing little bits of their inner soul as they write and some try to limit this public exposure as much as possible, but this is not the case with Dean, and there is an exposure to the very personal side of the man behind the songs that is present in his work, and that level of honesty from a writer is rare.  It is in no small part that open honesty when performing these skilfully crafted songs that endears Dean to audiences that really have taken him into their hearts.

Dean will be at The Queen’s Hall on Wednesday 24th August with his Hank Williams themed “Setting The Woods on Fire” show.  More details at

We reviewed the “Into The Sea” album a short time ago, you can catch up with the review at this page

To catch up with what is happening with Dean Owens


Review by Tom King

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