Dean Owens “The Hopeless Ghosts (Featuring Grant-Lee Phillips)”

Dean Owens - Hopeless Ghosts

Dean Owens releases a new video from his third and final ‘Desert Trilogy EP (Ghosts)’.

‘The Hopeless Ghosts’ is the latest chapter in Owens’ remarkable transatlantic collaboration with the undisputed masters of desert-noir, Calexico. To cap off what has already been an out-and-out international success story, on this latest track Owens manages to feature another special guest, with some beautiful harmonies from one of the greatest male voices in contemporary Americana, Grant-Lee Phillips.

Owens has established himself as a excellent songwriter with a gift for great storytelling and blessed with a soulful voice that can deliver anything from tender moments of quiet retrospection to full-on, impassioned intensity. The story of how the Edinburgh-based Owens ended up working at the legendary WaveLab Studio in Tucson, Arizona has already been featured on AUK, but even with the release of the final ‘Desert Trilogy’ EP, it’s still striking how well Owens’ own distinctive songwriting and voice have integrated into Calexico’s widescreen desert sound. The songs on The Desert Trilogy EPs each include a track from Owens’ forthcoming album, ‘Sinner’s Shrine’, plus songs from the album sessions and new tracks recorded long distance with John Convertino and and other musicians from Calexico, during 2020.

Once again, the EP is blessed with high quality musicians making stellar contributions throughout. The track opens with the wonderfully distinctive sound of John Convertino’s rolling drums, and alongside the vocals from Owens and Phillips, Joey Burns provides upright bass and electric guitar, with Paul Niehaus on pedal steel and Tom Hagerman on accordion. A special mention to Jacob Valenzuela’s trumpet providing a beautifully atmospheric presence throughout the song.

The video is by another of Owens’ long-term collaborators, the talented Scottish filmmaker, Ruth Barrie. Picking up on the song’s theme of the rootless wanderer, Owens is filmed with bedroll and guitar case making his way along a disused railway track. As he walks, he recalls lost loves and distant places, and when he reaches the end of the line, he can only just turn back around and keep on walking. It’s beautifully shot and they’ve found the perfect location to match the song. “Crossed the border and never looked back // All my belongings tucked up in my pack // Afraid of loving what I can’t let go.”

Owens has also recently announced Edinburgh Festival Fringe (via Pleasance Online) are offering online screenings of his Celtic Connections show with Joey Burns, Calexico trumpeter Martin Wenk, and bassist Kevin McGuire. He also has some long-overdue live shows coming up with dates at The Green Note, Camden (Wednesday, 1st September) and at Maverick Festival (Saturday, 4th September), so if you get a chance try to catch him live. You won’t regret it.

Dean Owens has established himself as a creatively ambitious singer/songwriter with an international vision and as a performer at the very forefront of UK Americana.

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