Brian Owens Gives New, Soulful Life to Johnny Cash Classics

Members choose #brianowens to receive his cover album “Soul Of Cash” on vinyl

Who Is Brian Owens?

To get an idea of who Brian Owens is, there’s really just a few main points you need to hit: he grew up in Ferguson, Missouri and is the son of a preacher. He served in the Air Force prior to pursuing music full time, and was part of the kickass military band Sideline during his deployment. He’s politically, religiously, and socially active. He recorded and released a fantastic song with Michael McDonald (lead singer of The Doobie Brothers) on his record Soul Of Ferguson in 2017, which served as a testament to his hometown and the injustices that have occurred there over the years. Finally, he’s got a voice that will have you questioning whether or not Sam Cooke really died back in 1964, or is still kickin’ and just singing under a different moniker. Though I don’t know the man personally, Brian Owens seems like a hell of a guy with the pitch-perfect tenor pipes to match.

Soul Of Cash is made up of seven excellent, soulful renditions of Johnny Cash hits (plus one original as the closer). At first listen, I found it a surprising tribute. Songs that I’ve always found somber now have been reinvented to sound hopeful — even happy. After digging a little deeper, though, it makes sense. Johnny Cash was a church-rooted man himself, and as accessible as his songs were, they were also political and socially aware. Johnny Cash took to music to find his voice and speak up for what he believed in, which is just what Brian Owens has done. Not only does he pay tribute to Cash on this fantastic cover album; he breathes new life into his classic songs that may have gathered dust over the years.

You’ll Like If You Enjoy:

Sam Cooke

Marvin Gaye

Otis Redding

Curtis Mayfield

Leon Bridges

My Take:

Cover albums are tricky. Everyone appreciates the greats that came before them, but very few can give their songs the justice they deserve. Sure, a decent cover is simple. It’s easy on the ears, and maybe even serves as a breath of fresh air from the original. But a great cover, a stop-you-in-your-tracks cover, is one that makes you hear a song differently. It makes you dwell on different words, it shows you a whole new side to the lyrics and perhaps even affects the way you listen to the original. Brian Owens took these classic, influential songs, and shed a brand new light on them. Backed by a gospel choir and a bluesy jazz band, his soulful vocals lift these old country classics to new heights. While I have always loved Johnny Cash (and always will), Soul Of Cash has taught me to appreciate his songs in a whole new way. Do yourself a favor, and listen.

Favorite Tracks:

“Ring Of Fire” — A classic.

“Walk the Line” — I thought that I always appreciated this song for its simplicity. But Brian Owens added all sorts of instruments and backup vocals and now I love it in a whole new way.

VNYL members can self-select #brianowens as 1 of their 3 vinyl records this month. Click here to join.