Dean Owens launched his new album - “The Man From Leith - The Best of Dean Owens” at Leith Dockers Club tonight with his current band The Southerners aka the award winning talents of Tom Collison (keys and bass guitar) and Jim Maving on guitar, delta slide and mandolin - not forgetting of course, honorary Southerner and always a big part of Dean’s musical sound on stage, Amy Geddes on fiddle and vocals. This show was also supposed to be the start of their tour, but events outside anyone’s control may have made this the shortest tour of Dean’s musical career. For updates on shows check with Dean at his website at https://www.deanowens.com.
I hope that Dean and The Southerners can play as many planned shows as possible, but if not, then this one will I think go down with everyone at The Dockers Club, the band, and Dean himself as something a little bit special and a night to remember for everyone. This was Dean Owens, the boy from Madeira Street, Leith, at home within a venue he knows well (and also where he gave his first public performance as a singer). Out of all the shows I have seen Dean Owens play, I think this show was probably Dean at his best and most relaxed. This was not Dean Owens the singer/songwriter performing on stage tonight, but a far more intimate performance from a man at home with family and friends, and that added a very extra layer of emotional depth when songs like the always popular and requested “The Man From Leith”, and not often performed, “Julie’s Moon” were performed. With these songs, Dean is giving us songs from the heart about his father and his sister – both tributes in very different ways, but both powerful words and music. These two songs, perhaps more than any other songs from Dean are what his music is about at its core – real people and real emotions.
As you would expect at an album launch, material from the album featured heavily in the two sets here, and “Up On The Hill”, “Virginia Street”, “The Night Johnny Cash Played San Quentin”, and “Raining In Glasgow” were not only big crowd pleasers, but give a small taste of how varied Dean Owens songs can be. It was also nice to hear how Jim Maving and Tom Collison have added to the sound of these songs and be able to compare them with the original studio versions on the album. There were also many other very well written songs that never made it to this “Best of” album, and perhaps the night’s closing song – Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” - will never become a standard in Dean’s live shows, but I am assured that it is a bit of a tradition to end a night at The Leith Dockers Club with this song,
I reviewed “The Man From Leith - The Best of Dean Owens” recently too, and it is available at this page
Review by Tom King