MEET THE BAND: Shane Owens (vocals, guitar)
BORN IN ALABAMA: Born and raised in a small Alabama town, Owens grew up on a farm. At an early age, he developed an appreciation for what he refers to as "traditional country music." "I grew up listening to Randy Travis and George Jones and Merle Haggard," he says. "I also sang gospel music in church."
AN EARLY HIT: Owens issued his first CD, Let's Get On It, in 2005, and the album delivered a hit with the single "Bottom of the Fifth." "It was a great experience," he says. "I think looking back now all artists look back and nitpick their first record. Now, I hang out with some of the best songwriters so it's night and day. That was a good record. I poured my heart and soul into it, but now we're cutting songs with some of the best songwriters in Nashville." Hit-making producer James Strauss produced his second album but the label that initially was going to release it went out of business. Because Owens owned the rights to the tunes, he was able to take the songs to another label. The resulting album, Where I'm Coming From, came out last year.
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HIM: "All the Beer in Alabama" has a classic country feel and "Country Boy Can," songs off Where I'm Comin' From, come off as sincere, semi-autobiographical tunes. A narrative-based tune about a guy who joins the military at age 19, Owens' latest single, "19," features pedal steel guitars and shows off Owens' rich baritone vocals. "He's somebody's son in a hole with a gun in a foreign land," sings Owens in the tune about the pursuit of the American dream. "I always had great respect for the military," says Owens when asked about the song. "I have a history of military in my family. It's one of the songs that anyone can relate to. It's real life." The song was engineered by Clevelander Jeff Koval of Fifth Wheel fame. Owens says he'll release a Christmas song at the end of November and a full-length in spring of next year. "I'm so excited about the new songs; these are the best songs I ever recorded," Owens says of the forthcoming full-length. "You're talking about the best of the best. I'm not a spring chicken. I'm 45 years old. I'm trying to keep myself in shape, but the good Lord has blessed, and it's all in good time. I'm living proof of that."
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HIM: shaneowenscountry.com.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HIM: Shane Owens performs at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Thirsty Cowboy in Medina. — Jeff Niesel