The music business has knocked Shane Owens down, but this tough country boy is back on his feet with a triumphant debut album.
The staunch country traditionalist has survived career setbacks that would have defeated most performers. Instead, he has recorded a group of songs that will make him the most applauded newcomer of the year.
“I think of myself as a crusader for traditional country music,” says the Alabama stylist with the burnished baritone. “A lot of the music that’s on the radio now is not traditional country. They’ve kinda gotten away from that. I’m country, and there ain’t no other way I can be. That’s just what I am and I think the traditional style is coming back around. At some point in time, this younger generation is going to start catching on. You can already see that they are. I see it at my shows.”
The fact that this new project exists is something of a minor miracle. Every other time he tried to make a record, the music industry burned his dream to the ground. Until this year, all his hard work had always seemed to be in vain.
Shane Owens built a following in nightclubs of the Southeast for a decade. Fans flocked to hear his powerfully emotional singing. He opened shows for dozens of major stars, and word from them trickled back to Nashville’s music executives. Inevitably, he was offered a recording contract but, they only offered Owens a deal to make singles, not an album and he gracefully passed on the offer.
A second record label approached him. In 2005, a Shane Owens CD titled Let’s Get On It briefly saw the light of day. Its single, “Bottom of the Fifth,” was a hit in Texas and was halfway up the national charts when the label folded. His album was on the market for less than 100 days. Owens dusted himself off and pushed forward.
Producer James Stroud (Chris Young, Clint Black, etc.) took him under his wing. A second album was recorded and ready for release in 2009 when its record company also went under. This time, Shane Owens was badly bruised.
There was a silver lining in his second album’s demise, however. He was able to maintain ownership of the stellar songs he’d recorded with James Stroud. These now form the basis of his new CD for Amerimonte Records, along with several newly recorded tunes with the also esteemed Ed Seay (Martina McBride, Collin Raye, etc.).
The result is a pluperfect portrait of a proud country traditionalist. There is just one detail in this picture that might seem strange: Although his voice sounds marinated in Jack Daniels, this honky-tonk singer is a straight arrow. “I’ve never smoked, I don’t chew, I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink. I’ve never been in any kind of trouble. I’ve never even had a speeding ticket. Some people don’t get that.” says the outstanding barroom stylist.
On the other hand, maybe things are just right, just the way they are: “I’ve been blessed to be brought up the way I was brought up. And I’ve learned the hard way that you’ve got to be yourself. That’s what’s gonna sell: Me being me. Maybe this whole thing is meant to be, and I’ve been through all of this for a reason, and the third time’s the charm.”