Settin’ the Woods on Fire The Songs of Hank Williams - Dean Owens review The Queen's Hall (Venue 72) ​ Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016 Wednesday 24th August


Settin’ the Woods on Fire : The Songs of Hank Williams featuring Dean Owens at  The Queen's Hall (Venue 72) was a must see show for any fans of Hank and his music.

It’s no secret that Dean Owens is a huge Hank Williams fan and Hank’s music reverberates all the way through Dean Owens’ own song writing, and joined on stage with the talents of “The Celtabilly Allstars” (Kevin McGuire - double bass and Stuart Nisbet – lap steel guitar/guitar) plus singer Sheila Henderson and fiddler Bryan Gear from Shetland,  this was just a great night with Dean obviously happy at his musical inspirational roots.

Opening the Set with “Settin’ The Woods On Fire”, the music continued with classic after classic – “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, “Why Don’t You Love Me”, “Ramblin’ Man”, “I Saw The Light”, and many others – including of course “Your Cheatin’ Heart”. 

Dean Owens does a great Hank Williams show, and not because he tries to be Hank Williams, but Dean Owens playing, singing and somehow capturing the spirit of the music like few performers ever manage to do.

Given how far down the “sad and lonely road” Hank Williams songs can take you, you might have expected everyone’s wine and beer glasses to be full of tears and overflowing onto the floor, but the show was nothing like that. As with any Dean Owens show, there was that usual humour and warmth that connects an audience immediately to him and despite the subject matter of the songs, this was one of the friendliest shows I have been at for a while.

I can’t end this review without mentioning a few extra things.   Great music from  everyone on stage, but also some heartfelt songs from Sheila Henderson   -“You’ll Never Take Her Love From Me” and “Cold Cold Heart” to name only a few.

One very apt song in this set was of course “Celebrate The Life”, Dean Owens’ own personal music tribute to the life and music of Hank Williams.

Hank Williams sadly lived a far too short a life and died at 29 years old, and to have written so many classic songs (this show only covered a small part of that back catalogue) is nothing short of amazing.

This show was only ever put together to be performed a few times in The Shetlands for a Hank Williams tribute show and  has seen three shows (including this one) elsewhere.  Dean did indicate on stage that this would probably be the last performance of the show, but maybe, just maybe there is hope for a reprieve, so the man to ask about that is of course Dean Owens.  For myself, I think it is far too good a show not to let it have at least a few more performances.

To catch up with what Dean Owens is doing on other projects visit

More information on Sheila Henderson is available from her Facebook page at

There was a limited edition CD album available at this show. A. review of the album is on this page.


Review by Tom King

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