Aug 042014
 

Greetings, all. Sorry for coming back after a long hiatus with a bit of a bummer, but — did any of you guitar-pop fans know that Will Owsley died a few years ago? And that he killed himself? I don’t know why, but this one hurt a little bit more than I expected.

Back in the mid-’90s, townsman Mockcarr and I enjoyed discovering the decade’s few truly good albums and artists in the “power-pop” genre, and our voyage of discovery pointed us in the direction of Owsley’s truly excellent eponymous debut album. In an era that predated any meaningful internet discovery, finding something like it — an album about which one could basically find no additional information — was a real moment, and you couldn’t help but take a kind of music nerd pride in having unearthed it. Owsley, and The Grays, and Jon Brion’s first solo album, and Aimee Mann’s “Whatever” — those were discs that *we* found, and artists that *I* pimped among my fellow fans of meticulously crafted, guitar-centric songwriting.

Now I find out that Owsley is dead, at his own hand. He never recaptured the spirit of his excellent first album again (I believe he had two albums that came out after it), but the fact that it still exists as a shining example of what an obsessive, home-recording, pop songsmith can do when he sets his mind to it, makes me happy. Thanks, Will. You will be missed.

HVB

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  4 Responses to “RIP, Owsley”

  1. cherguevarra

    You gave me some kind of deja vu flashback with this post. He really did accomplish quite a lot, even though he didn’t become a star in his own right. Such a sad story, clearly a troubled and talented person.

    Your video isn’t working – was it “oh no, the radio” by any chance? One of the co-writers of that song, Ross Rice, made a great album called “Umpteen” if you dig Owsley’s stuff, you should check it out.

    I saw the Gray’s at J.C. Dobbs, that was a fun show. There were too many cooks (or egos) in that particular kitchen, couldn’t have lasted.

  2. The YouTube clips should be fixed. I’m hoping that The Back Office will be able to help us find a greater fix to a recent problem we’ve been having with YouTube clips. Thanks.

    Good to have you back, HVB. I was seriously toying with posting a Do You Remember HVB? piece. Hope all is well.

  3. trigmogigmo

    Thanks, HVB! Good stuff, completely new to me.

  4. I knew that Will Owsley passed away. The news caught my eye because I really like that first record and the second, The Hard Way wasn’t bad either. “Coming Up Roses” is a fine Beatle-styled number, at least as good as “Sowing the Seeds of Love” in my mind. Thanks for bringing this back up to the surface.

 
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