An Interview

DAVID OWEN – OH SUZANA BLUES

Interview  – Paris Move * – 2022

Long underpinning the blues, tragedy hit David Owen with full force, just four months after the release of his debut album (the ironically titled “Livin’ Life”). The police then came to inform him of the disappearance of his wife (and mother of his three children), Suzana, in a maritime accident on Lake Joseph. Several years of understandable prostration followed, during which this Canadian singer-songwriter from Uxbridge (Ontario) put his career on hold. Recorded in Nashville under the leadership of the legendary Colin Linden, this disc is therefore as much a work of mourning as of resilience. 

Deliberately stripped down, it indeed touches the depths of the blues to the marrow. With their vintage reverb (and above all, this ragtime picking that Owen and Linden share), “Sweet Sugar Mama” and “21st Century Retro Man” thus recall the very beginnings of Hot Tuna, when Kaukonen, Casady and the so-called Will Scarlett revisited the repertoire of Reverend Gary Davis in concert, while with Fats Kaplin’s Papa John Creach fiddle, “All Folk Get The Blues” even evokes Kansas Joe McCoy’s Harlem Hamfats. Able to approach with the same happiness the downhome Mississippi blues way Big Bill Broonzy and Skip James (this petrifying “Bankruptcy Blues”, where he brilliantly ensures only guitar, vocals and harmonica) and the folk-blues practiced by Woody Guthrie and his emulators , from Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk to Townes Van Zandt (“Soul Of A Sullen”, “Master Of Disguise”, “Fr. John’s Blues”, “No God But God”, “Lonesome Without You” as well as the heartbreaking range owner, in the vein of the great Mississippi John Hurt), Owen imposes himself here with authority as one of the major figures of the contemporary blues scene. If it was indeed necessary to have lived intensely before being able to claim his napkin ring among this restricted club, David confirms the adage hands down. A classic, I tell you.

Patrick Dlongeville
Paris-Move, Blues Magazine, Illico & BluesBoarder

PARIS-MOVE, May 31st 2022

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The two David Owen albums (“Livin’ Life” and “Oh Suzana Blues”) can be ordered HERE

 
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