John’s Blues Picks August 2015 – Dalannah and Owen “Been Around A While” (Self)
Dalannah and Owen “Been Around A While” (Self) | www.reverbnation.com/dalannahandowen
Dalannah Gail Bowen and Owen Owen Owen (Owen Veber) have both been around a while: Bowen a long time vocalist/actress & social activist and Veber a veteran and inventive bassist, both hail from Vancouver. Owen is 40-year man in the Vancouver scene but this is the first time I’ve seen his name on a blues disc. He proves here that it shouldn’t be his last. And yes it is just bass and voice. It’s a testament to both their talents that this works so well as there is no place to hide.
The title tune opens with just the bass and it wanders across the stereo spectrum as Dalannah reflects on her well-lived life. Owen also multi-tracks, here and elsewhere, soloing over top – a lead bass, if you will. Five of the songs are originals from Bowen & Veber, presumably with lyrics from Bowen set to music by Veber, beginning with this well-chosen opener. “Early in the Morning” is the standard sung marvellously, it’s a fixture of her live set.
Billy Eckstine‘s “Blues Mother of Sin” gets an especially fine performance. “Queen Bee” is her tribute to Big Mama Thornton, says the note and is a clever re-construction of traditional blues lyrics, well delivered. “Inner City Blues” is the Marvin Gaye tune, selected to highlight Bowen’s social activism. “Heaven’s Right Here” is another excellent original about realizing what she has.
Robert Johnson‘s ” Come On In My Kitchen” gets a most unusual and intriguing arrangement, a highlight indeed. “Walking Blues” is credited to Son House but sounds more like Butterfield‘s but no matter, this is also a marvellous performance. With their virtuoso talent, judicious pacing and song selection, I think you’ll agree they’ve overcome any limitations they’ve imposed on themselves. This duo’s site is www.reverbnation.com/dalannahandowen and Bowen has her own site. The music is available at iTunes.