Brian Owens ; Co-Producer: Daru Jones
Russ Long, Luke Arens, Duane Lundy
Duane Lundy, Luke Arens (Track 8), Brian Owens (Tracks 6 & 8)
Ada Cole Records / Purpose Music Group
Release Date: Oct. 6, 2017
1. Ring Of Fire (Written by Merle Kilgore, June Carter)
"This idea of ‘I fell for you like a child but the fire was wild’ — that’s not necessarily a good thing. The fire can cook your food or burn your house down. But fire in and of itself is not the issue of this song. It’s about respecting that fire, nurturing it, watching over it. Then, when it’s pure love, God’s love, that overtakes you, that’s a good thing. With the love my wife gives to me, I fall into a burning ring of fire too — the fire of love burning in my heart."
2. Folsom Prison Blues (Written by Johnny Cash)
"I wanted to record ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ because it’s such a signature song. But I had to find how to do it my way while still keeping the melody and the story its focus. I tried to think of a soul vehicle that would have that same drive, like the feel of a train coming. Then I found that vibe from Joe Tex. With that interpolation, with the Stax-like horns coming in, it was like, ‘Oh, yeah. We got this one.'"
3. Walk The Line (Written by Johnny Cash)
"This song has so much meaning for me. It could be talking about me and my wife. It could be talking about God. It’s like, because of their influence, I watch what I do. ‘I find it very easy to be true. I find myself alone when each day is new. Yes, I’ll admit that I’m a fool for you. Because you’re mine, I walk the line.’ You can make so many wrong decisions in the moment, so having that line is a really good thing."
4. Cry, Cry, Cry (Written by Johnny Cash)
"I love this arrangement and the lyrics are genius. This tune almost didn't make the record but I'm so glad I came to my senses. This is for sure one of Mr. Cash's greatest tunes.
5. Sunday Morning Coming Down (Written by Kris Kristofferson)
"At first I didn’t understand what drew me so much to this song. But then I realized it’s really my dad’s story. He’s a preacher, so I learned a lot from his sermons about who he was before God and marriage and kids came into his life. Maybe there’s a difference between black and white alcoholic experiences. But to me, it’s not a black/white thing. It’s a human thing, just like all the songs that Johnny Cash wrote and sang."
6. Long Black Veil (Written by Marijohn Wilkin, Danny Dill)
"The idea of infidelity outside of marriage is not on my radar at all. But still, this story is almost like a retelling of David and Bathsheba: You make an illicit decision. Then you have a choice. You either tell the truth about what you’ve done and deal with the consequences or you lie. And if you lie, that turns into one more circumstance and then another and another one after that. That’s what this song is about, idea of being pulled away from what matters most by something that seems enticing in the moment, without realizing the consequences of your decision."
7. Man In Black (Written by Johnny Cash)
"I identify with every verse of this song. You see the injustices that go on in this world. You don’t want to gloss over them. You want to be honest about them. Maybe you want to try and change them. But you can’t be an agent for change if you don’t realize first why there needs to be a change. This is a lesson for everybody."
8. Soul In My Country (Written by Sunday Morning - Brian Owens, Rissi Palmer)
"I wanted to write a song that reflected my response to everyone who looks at me strange about singing the songs of Johnny Cash. All I had at first was this line, ‘You might think I’m crazy when I say I love Hank’ I gave that line to my friend and co-writer Rissi Palmer. She sent her version back to me and that inspired me to write the rest of my version. See, you shouldn’t look at me strange if I say I dig Johnny Cash, because I don’t look at you strange when you say you dig Otis Redding or Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye. All of these guys came out of the church; that's what binds them and us together. "
Special guests include :
The Deacons of Soul (Alvin Quinn, Rob Woodie, Shaun Robinson), Rissi Palmer, Austin Grimm Smith, Dylan McDonald, The Cash Williams Collective (Daru Jones, Marcus Machado, Tony Esterly, Victor Broden, Zander Wyatt, Lee Carroll, Willie Eames),
Robert Randolph, The Vaughans (Malena Smith, Maria Ellis, Valencia Branch and Charlene Masona)
One of the most appreciated attributes of a great artist is their ability to take a song that is already considered a classic in its original form, and successfully take it even further. While some avoid covering artists of legendary status, Brian Owens is tackling it head on in his forthcoming project, “Soul of Cash,” covering selected pages from the songbook of the late great Johnny Cash. If the project’s lead single, “Ring of Fire” is any indication, Owens may have an instant classic on his hands.
It is not surprising to hear that Owens lists Cash as one of his influences after just a few seconds of “Fire.” What makes this performance transcend eras is the stripped down arrangement guided by the signature guitar melody. Owens successfully keeps the legacy of the original track, yet creates a lovely fusion of St. Louis Blues, Memphis Soul, and Nashville Country. All of this occurs even before we get to Owens’ vocal performance, which is simply put, one of the most honest and soulful voices to come down the line in recent memory. His ability to vocally paint a picture behind such a clever lyric, adds to the greatness of this cover.
There is truly so much to enjoy about this track, as each new listen will bring about something new to appreciate. From the horn section strides to the background vocals echoing sessions at Stax, Brian Owens will have you on Fire after taking on this modern twist of an iconic musical statement.
THE RFT HONORS THE MUSICAL ACTS WE LOVE IN ST. LOUIS IN 2017
The type of soul that Ferguson native Brian Owens channels in his music has a clear and undeniable source — Owens’ background is in gospel, and he proudly holds that tradition and faith as his musical core. But what makes Owens such a rare talent is the mutability and spread of his soul tradition; he regularly performs tribute shows to both Johnny Cash and Marvin Gaye, an odd Venn diagram that somehow makes perfect sense thanks to Owens’ expressive and stirring performances. He’s been busy promoting his own music as well, including last year’s Beautiful Day EP and this year’s The Soul of Ferguson, which features guest vocals from fellow Ferguson native Michael McDonald. Their partnership goes beyond their shared hometown: Both vocalists know soul music was a feeling before it was ever a genre.
Singer Brian Owens Proves Johnny Cash Isn’t Just Country
Owens and The St. Louis Symphony merge genres and to show why the connection between Johnny Cash to soul music isn’t a strange one. On May 21, St. Louis soul singer Brian Owens will perform The Soul of Cash: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash at Powell Hall. Joined by the St. Louis Symphony, Deacons of Soul, and The Vaughns, Owens will explore soul arrangements of Cash’s country classics as well as some of his own original songs.
Review: Brian Owens & The Deacons Of Soul – Soul Of Ferguson
If Instant Vintage or Gospeldelic are legitimate genres of music, as coined by Raphael Saadiq, then Brian Owens & The Deacons Of Soul certainly fit the bill. Returning with his third album, Soul Of Ferguson, Brian Owens continues on his mission of creating spirit-stirring and invigorating music in the glorious style of the Stax and Motown era. In keeping with the vibe of the late Sharon Jones and her band The Dap-Kings, and soul funkateer Charles Bradley, or even Alice Smith and Anthony Hamilton and The Hamiltones, it’s hard not to make comparisons between all of the new era soulsters. Especially when their sounds are usually compared to the originators of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. But what sets Brian Owens & The Deacons Of Soul apart is how their gospel roots directly inform the inspirational message of each and every song. As a solo artist, Brian Owens released two albums, Moods & Messages, and Preach! The Soundtrack, both equally riveting in the balance of gospel-like inspiration and throwback soul authenticity.
Hear Soul Man Brian Owens' New Song 'For You' With Michael McDonald
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.