Review: Gwil Owen – The Road To The Sky


Gwil Owen – The Road To The Sky

Gwil Owen – The Road To The Sky
Format: CD / Label: Continental Song City – Continental Record Service
Release: 2023

Tekst: Bert van Kessel

Gwilym Emyr Owen, met Welshe roots, has been living and working as an independent singer/songwriter in Nashville for several decades now. He started his musical career in The Detonators together with Jeff Finlin, who has also contributed to this superb album.

This is his fifth solo album and what a treat it is! He came up with a great album ‘Flying Dream’ in 2019 but he has accomplished the unthinkable: this one is even better. He knows how to write a song that sticks and once again he proves to be a gifted storyteller, thus following in the footsteps of his inspirations Guy Clark and David Olney.

He recorded this self-produced album in Nashville with a small circle of friends, Joe McMahan (also co-producer) on various guitars, Tony Crow on keys, Dave Jacques (bass) and Bryan Owings on drums. Rick Schell, Kevin Gordon, Jeff Finlin and Shannon MacNally contribute fne backing vocals. They have come up with twelve varied tracks in a wide  Americana-spectrum. 

The smoothly rocking opener When The Songwriter’s Gone (autobiographical?) leans on driving electric guitars and  spirited vocals: the light-hearted Connected features McMahan ’s funky electric guitar. Shannon MacNally steps up with a beautiful harmony vocal in the haunting Leaning On Me, which features a great slide by McMahan.

Magic Child  is intense and personal.Two uplifting tracks Where The West Wind Blows and Change are co-writes with the well-respected Will Kimbrough. The intimate miniature Murder Leads up to absolute prize number #1, the closing track She Does it All With Her Eyes, a stunning co-write with David Olney who also excels on (pre-recorded) acoustic guitar.

Twelve great songs, a fine voice and excellent musicianship. All that beauty set in a crisp production: Amazing stuff!

01. When The Songwriter’s Gone
02. Connected
03. You Leaning On Me
04. Magic Child
05. So Much
06. Where The West Wind Blows
07. Ghost Town
08. Change
09. Heaven In Our Hands
10. Sweeping The Road To The Sky
11. Murder
12. She Does It All With Her Eyes