Judith Owen

Ogden Museum of Southern Art

August 15, 2019 ||| 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Ego Non Karaoke

“I don’t do karaoke”

For most artists, an album of cover songs is an idea of last resort, a Hail Mary pass when one’s creativity has stalled out or there’s a contract to be fulfilled….

But most artists aren’t Judith Owen. This firebrand singer-songwriter and pianist is currently riding the wave of a tremendous couple of years. Her previous album Somebody’s Child was adored by critics around the world – The Sunday Times UK chose it as one of the best records of 2016 and Analog Planet said that it “sparkles with Owen’s witty energy” and noting that “the songs will stay with you long after the record ends.” Her live performances, whether as a headliner or as the handpicked opening act for Bryan Ferry’s recent tours of Europe and North America, have been wowing listeners and gaining fans like fellow artist Jackson Browne, who said of Owen’s onstage prowess: “It’s a masterclass on how a show should be done.” So with all that wind in her sails, why then turn to the music of others for her forthcoming album redisCOVERed? For Owen, it is something of a gift for her fans, both old and new.

“Over the years, so many people, whether it be [film producer] Nick Wechsler or audience members who hear the covers I’ve done over the years, have always had the question, ‘Why don’t you make a collection of these things because they’re so unique and unusual?’” Owen says. “And I had to really ask myself why I do these covers and why they bring me so much pleasure.” Those questions are easy to answer once you listen to redisCOVERed. As she has done since her earliest days attempting to plunk out the music of Mozart and Debussy on her family’s piano to her days playing four hour sets in piano bars fulfilling customer requests, Owen makes these songs her own. She molds the familiar melodies and lyrics to contemporary pop hits and longtime favorites to her unmistakable voice and style. “The line I always use is, ‘I don’t do karaoke.’ I don’t perform or sing music unless it means something to me,” Owen insists. “I knew I had to make these songs matter to me, to have my truth in them.” It doesn’t take much digging to find the deeper layers of meaning in her song choices and her performances on redisCOVERed. Look within even the seemingly silliest selection and you’ll find a big piece of Owen’s heart waiting for you.

Owen’s arrangements breathe fresh life into these familiar songs recording with Grammy® winning co-producer/mixer/engineer David Bianco (Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Meghan Trainor) whilst surrounding herself with some sharp musical talent. She’s joined throughout this album by legendary bassist Leland Sklar (James Taylor, Carole King, Leonard Cohen) and master percussionist Pedro Segundo, both key members of Judith’s recent live band.  You’ll also find contributions from the likes of Paul Beard (Bryan Ferry, James Blunt), George Shelby (Phil Collins, Bette Midler), Snarky Puppy member Michael ‘Maz’ Maher, Grammy® winning jazz trumpeter Nicholas Payton and her dazzling London string players; longtime cellist collaborator Gabriella Swallow and violinist Lizzie Ball (Nigel Kennedy, Jeff Beck).

Owen states, “I  will continue to live by my family motto: Ego Non Karaoke.”

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