BRIAN OWENS AND THE DEACONS OF SOUL
 
 
 

*SOUL OF FERGUSON*
Available February 24th

 
 

When you hear Brian Owens sing, it’s hard to believe that anyone could find as much joy in music as he does. You would have to believe that his greatest goal is to thrill audiences and reinforce his reputation as one of America’s true soul music virtuosos.

You would be wrong. His goals are much higher than that.

Understanding this will open your ears fully to what makes Owens exceptional. On his new album, SOUL OF FERGUSON, scheduled for release February 24, 2017, Owens teams up with vocal superstar and close friend Michael McDonald for the project’s debut single. Written by Owens, "For You" is a spirit-stirring duet that extols a love so great that “I’d give up anything for you,” leaving it to listeners to interpret how they mirror this devotion in their own lives. It's a song that talks about God. It talks about love. And that gives me a perspective of how much I want to do that for another generation, to encourage them as Michael has encouraged me.”

Owens wrote all eight of the songs featured on the album, drawing from each one from his many influences — Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield and other giants. But the foundation for all that he would process as a singer was laid in his church, specifically through its a cappella tradition of rich harmony and inspirational lead singing.

This allowed Owens to hear and learn from all genres of music. Even now you can hear traces in his phrasing, in the way he tells the truth through a lyric or a melody, of Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole and even Johnny Cash. “Look at his pedigree,” Owens says. He sang a lot of traditional hymns and gospel, just like the folks in my church. Then you have people like Chet Atkins and Hank Williams — the way they sang and the way they wrote -- that’s American popular song.”

So even though soul music remains his base, Owens clarifies that the roots it shares with jazz, country and blues are the key to his style. “To me, it’s all American,” he says. “When people ask me what I am, I say I’m an American soul singer. It’s American soul.”

A longtime resident of Ferguson, Missouri, he has led by example in launching charitable initiatives. Through his L.I.F.E (Leadership, Innovation, Faith and Excellence) Cultural and Performing Arts, he offers education in music, art and technology with the aim of empowering youth in his community. As manager of the In Unison program and in tandem with the St. Louis Symphony, he connects young people with the city’s artistic institutions. And in October 2016, at the first of his Lunch and Learn events to connect young participants with veteran artists, he hosted a more than 100 students and some adults in a Q&A with the vocal group Take 6, in partnership with the Symphony and under the umbrella of Owens’ newly formed Sterling Bank for L.I.F.E. Community partnership and emerging All Star Clinics program.

Owens has accomplished a lot in his musical career. He has headlined his own tours across the country, performed at the World Series and for First Lady Michelle Obama, opened for Ramsey Lewis and Michael McDonald, and made numerous appearances on national television, including Entertainment Tonight, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Fox & Friends, The Wayne Brady Show and more.

Most people would call him a success. Not surprisingly, he’s learned from all this to see success in a different light.

“When I come home every day, I tell myself my life is successful because I can be home with my family, available to my church and involved with my students. Those things matter the most. So when I go to the studio or onto the stage to do music, that’s a platform for their success and for those who come after them so I can step back and let these young people take it over when they’re ready.”

 

TRACK BY TRACK

SIDE A:


“So High”

Lyrics:   Brian Owens (ASCAP), Jarrett Johnson (ASCAP)
Music:   Brian Owens, Lee Carroll, Willie Eames

“I wrote this with a friend of mine named Jarrett Johnson, an incredible writer in L.A. From the moment I started writing this, I knew it would be about love. But then I began to wonder, ‘Love for who?’  Initially I didn’t use any pronouns — no ‘baby’ or ‘honey’ So there was a dualism: The first verse could be about God. The second verse is the actualization of that love in my relationship with my wife. I love the vibe and the feel in how that comes together.”
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“For You”
Lyrics:   Brian Owens (ASCAP)
Music:   Brian Owens and Tony Esterly (ASCAP)

“It was so amazing to sing with Michael McDonald. And it went to a whole other level to sing with him on a song I wrote and produced. Our voices and styles turned out to complement each other really well. Pre-Michael, the song had a certain vibe. But when Michael came in that gave it a great old-school, Sam-and-Dave feel. Doing this was a dream come true.”
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“Pretty Fine Thing”
Lyrics:   Brian Owens (ASCAP), Jarrett Johnson (ASCAP)
Music:   Brian Owens

“The lyrics are totally true. My wife was 14 the first time I saw her. I was 17. I was such a fool! I was not ready for her! But five years later I proposed to her. She’s a gift to me from God. The other thing about this song is that it expresses my fidelity. ‘You are the one for me’ means one. There is no other.”
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“She’s Mine” (Part 1 & 2)
Lyrics:   Brian Owens (ASCAP)
Music:  Brian Owens

“I love performing this tune live. It’s just a feel-good, clap-your-hands, stomp-your-feet kind of thing with The Deacons Of Soul bringing that old quartet vibe into the background vocals. It’s not overly complicated but especially when we switch up from the first half to the different feel of the second, that’s so much fun for me.”

 

SIDE B:


“Beautiful Day”
Lyrics:   Brian Owens (ASCAP), Ray Smith
Music:   Brian Owens, Lee Carroll, Willie Eames

“With its Curtis Mayfield vibe and the strings, the message of ‘Beautiful Day’ is I don’t care what’s going on. Every day I wake up is a good day. It’s an opportunity for new grace and new mercy, new expressions of love … and new failure, which has to precede new success!”
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“Prayer for My Children”
Lyrics:   Brian Owens (ASCAP)
Music:  Brian Owens
 

“I wrote this song as part of a suite after that tragic moment that happened in 2014. I was thinking about how I’m raising my kids at a time when things like this are happening. If anything happens to me, I want them to know exactly how I feel about God and exactly how I feel about their mother. This song is very specific about these things: ‘Color and country don’t define who you are. God’s love is the only thing that sets each one of us apart but binds us together…”
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“When a Grown Man Cries”
Lyrics:   Brian Owens (ASCAP) and Raheem Burks  
Music:   Brian Owens

“When a grown man cries, he may not even have tears. But that doesn’t mean he’s not crying. The vulnerability of those moments can show a man’s true strength. It can be hard to be a man, to be a father and raise children, be a husband and be responsible for others. I want this song to give men permission to say it isn’t always easy — and that’s OK.”
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“Benediction”
Music:   The Deacons of Soul (Alvin Quinn, Shaun Robinson, Rob Woodie)

“The Deacons wrote this song while we were rehearsing about two years ago. I liked it but I could never find a lead vocal for it. When I replaced it with letting the sax just play, it felt right. Coming at the end of the record, it's like, ‘Now that you’ve heard all these things, think on them. Then when the chorus sings ‘shine,’ that’s a call to action. Let’s go out and live the things that we’ve heard and experienced.’ By the way, when I do this one live, I am going to sing. But the vocal will always come from the moment, not from anything I’ve recorded. It will speak to me as I sing to you.”
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Produced by Brian Owens

Record Label:  Ada Cole Records / The Purpose Music Group

Release Date:  February 24, 2017

 
 
 
 

NEWS


Photo by Jarred Gastreich

Photo by Jarred Gastreich

FEBRUARY 22, 2017

by Raphael Maurice | ALIVE Magazine 

If you’re looking for a brand-new record that hearkens back to Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye and other musical pioneers, St. Louis native Brian Owens and the Deacons of Soul will be releasing “The Soul of Ferguson” on Feb. 24. Owens’ music seeks to develop conversation and community around topical issues of our time in a resonant way, furthering his commitment to the city’s powerful message that has been heard around the world since August 2014.


PHOTOGRAPH BY NAOKI YAMANOUCHI

PHOTOGRAPH BY NAOKI YAMANOUCHI

FEBRUARY 21, 2017

by Lance Jordan | STL Magazine

When St. Louis Magazine last spoke to R&B Soul Singer Brian Owens he was heading to The Sheldon to perform a showcase of Bill Withers songs in a concert titled “Lean on Me.” Little under a year later, Owens is headed to Powell Symphony Hall to perform a tribute to country music legend Johnny Cash in a concert entitled The Soul of Cash: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash on May 21.


FEBRUARY 21, 2017

by Bill B. | SoulandJazzandFunk.com

Brian Owens is a US soul man who is proud to hail from Ferguson, Missouri. Sadly the little town was little-known till 2014 when Michael Brown was shot dead by police... an incident that sparked off the whole Black Lives Matter movement. The tragic events of 2014 hang heavily over this album, indeed one of the set's key cuts – 'Prayer For My Children', was inspired directly by Brown's killing. Owens says: "I wrote this song as part of a suite after that tragic moment that happened in 2014."


FEBRUARY 20, 2017

by Howard Dukes | Soul Tracks

Most Americans did not know about Ferguson, Missouri until that tragic day in the summer of 2014 when Michael Brown was fatally shot during an altercation with a city police officer. Now, everything that we know about that city is filtered through the lens of the tense and often dysfunctional relationship that the town’s largely black population has with the police department and the city government. The Brown shooting became a part of a long line of fatal confrontations between African-Americans – often but not always young, often but not always male – that gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement and, as is often the case in race relations, a counter movement (or backlash).


Jan 4, 2017

by Stephen L. Betts | Rolling Stone 

With his new single "For You," vibrant soul singer Brian Owens bridges a racial and generational divide, sharing vocals on the electrifying tune with five-time Grammy winner Michael McDonald. Backed by Owens' band, the Deacons of Soul, the singers, who also share the same hometown – the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri – conjure up the spirits of such Motown legends as Marvin Gaye and the Temptations in an exuberant track celebrating love both human and divine.


 
 

 
 
 

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CONTACT

Management

PURPOSE MUSIC GROUp

GEORGE LITTLEJOHN AND RUSSEL JOHNSON

718.622.6203

PURPOSE@PURPOSEMUSICGROUP.COM

 

Publicist

Hot Schatz Public relations

SCHATZI HAGEMAN

(615) 782-0078

schatzi@hotschatzpr.com

 

Label

Ada Cole Records

(314) 635-7359

 

Agent

BI COSTALProductions

212.268.6969

TALent@bicoastalproductions.com