Tell us about your show. Why should we go and see it?
It’s my full Sinners big band and it’s our one and only Fringe show, in a beautiful old venue, the Debating Hall at Teviot (Gilded Balloon), which has great sound and lighting. We will be showcasing songs from my most recent albums (recorded in Tucson (Arizona) with musicians from iconic desert indie rockers Calexico). It’s a big sound, with twin trumpets, electric and acoustic guitars, upright bass and special guest Sinner Kirsten Adamson. And maybe a little bit of Morricone style whistling.
I’m a singer songwriter/troubadour, originally from Leith, but my music has taken me all over the world, and enabled me to work with some wonderful musicians in places like Nashville, New York and the deserts of the Southwest US, which I love (a bit strange maybe for a redheaded Scot like myself). My music has been described as “a unique blend of Scottish roots and Americana” (with an added bit of mariachi/desert noir). It’s mostly a bit melancholy but with a feelgood undercurrent.
I started off with alt-country/cowpunk band The Felsons. Since then I have released 9 official solo albums (and a Best of) – with a new one on the way for 2024.
Dean Owens & The Sinners is yours truly, Craig Ross (from the band Broken Records) on guitar, Adam Macmillan on upright bass, Philip Cardwell and Chuck Dearness on trumpets, and Kirsten Adamson (daughter of Big Country’s Stuart Adamson) on guitar and vocals.
What are your hopes and dreams for the Fringe?
A successful, joyful, stress free show, with a big happy audience. Just because the songs are melancholy doesn’t mean they won’t make you feel good!
What makes you laugh?
Stewart Lee, my dad, Laurel and Hardy, Jack Lemmon, John Shuttleworth, my mate Rich.
What three words best describe your performance style – and why?
Happy, sad, heartfelt. Because I try to give my all, every time. And I like to make people laugh and cry. I’m never happier than when I’m singing sad songs.
How will your audience think/feel differently after an hour in your company?
I’d like to think we’ll help them escape to a warm, welcoming place for a wee while. Imagine yourself transported to a downtown sepia-tinged Tucson cantina, with songs of love and lust, sinners and saints, the wanderers and the border ghosts.
What kind of shows – apart from your own – are you looking forward to seeing at the Edinburgh Fringe?
Stewart Lee. I’ll maybe take in a couple of things at the Rose Theatre.
The cost of living is a big issue this year – will it make this Fringe more challenging?
I believe so. People are definitely a little more reluctant to spend money on the arts in general, plus I think some people haven’t got their confidence back to be in crowded places after coming through the pandemic. So it’s nice to be in a big, airy venue with good seats and aircon – hopefully we can tempt a few more people back out to share the magic of live performance.
What do you predict will emerge as the big themes of this year.
As ever the current state of politics and growing gap between the haves and have nots. The corruption of our government and Brexit. I imagine Trump will get a mention or two.
Who is your showbiz idol and why?
If you mean proper showbiz then it has to be Elvis Presley. He changed the world. (Other musical influences include Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt).
What is your idea of a perfect Fringe moment?
Probably something personal that happens now and again at the Fringe where someone you really admire turns up at one of your shows. Last year Stewart Lee was spotted browsing through my albums at the merch desk. That’s a nice thing. Maybe this year I’ll have a look through his merch.
Dean Owens & The Sinners
Teviot Debating Hall, Bristo Square (Gilded Balloon)
Wed 23rd Aug 22:00