Dean Owens Settin’ the Woods on Fire Songs I Learned From Hank Williams - Album review Saturday 13th August


Settin’ The Woods On Fire is a 12 track limited edition album tribute to the music of Hank Williams from Dean Owens and The Celtabilly Allstars (Kevin McGuire- double bass  and Stuart Nisbet – lap steel guitar)

The album and very mini tour – 3 shows  only – at Perth’s Southern Fried Festival, Glasgow, and Queen’s Hall (Edinburgh Fringe) are touring versions of the Hank Williams tribute show that Dean Owens was asked to curate and lead.

Hank Williams Snr as well as being one of the most iconic singer songwriters in country music history is also one of the few country stars whose music has inspired musicians in so many other musical genres, with his songs being covered by so many people over the years since his death. This new album from Dean Owens and The Celtabilly Allstars is an honest musical tribute by musicians who obviously have great respect for the source material.  The tracks on this album have that authentic Hank Williams sound to them but somehow still manage to keep the individual personalities of everyone involved.  This is not, like so many others, a Hank Williams tribute band sound alike album.

Many of the 12 tracks here will be well known to Hank Williams music fans with their stories of open roads, railroads, women and redemption, but there are some musical surprises here.  One track, “Alone and Forsaken” sounds far more rooted in English Folk music traditions than American country music, and the church roots of “I Saw The Light” are inescapable.

Playing Hank Williams songs with honesty and without them becoming “country karaoke” is difficult, but Dean Owens does it with honesty and feeling on this album.  Looking forward to the show.

Settin’ the Woods on Fire: The Songs of Hank Williams the show is at The Queen’s Hall on August 24th at 8.00pm and this album is available to purchase at the venue.

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Review by Tom King

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