I was introduced to Brian Owens by his Johnny Cash covers album Soul of Cash back in 2017. Next up was the tribute to his hometown of Fergurson, Missouri with Soul of Ferguson. Both records (released on vinyl by Soul Step Records) were powerful albums of tribute and tribulation and frequented my turntable for years after. Which each release and performance I see and hear, Owens stands shoulder to shoulder with his influences such as Michael McDonald, Marvin Gaye, and even Johnny Cash himself!
But with each of those releases, Owens let his influence and upbringing take center stage. That’s not a bad thing as he has been a prominent figure within his church and community. Owens spends a lot of time doing charitable events, raising awareness of social issues, as well as working with local youth in hopes to build a better future for his family and beyond. And while those records were nothing short of amazing, Owens’ latest album Love Came Down, gives him the opportunity to be a little more personal.
Produced by Brian Bacchus and recorded in Memphis, TN, Love Came Down is a bit of a departure from what we’ve grown accustomed to. To experiment with the sound sonically, Owens put together a new group of musicians known as The Royal Five. As where his previous band The Deacons Of Soul borrowed elements of R&B, Blues, and Americana, The Royal Five primarily focused on the soul aspect of Owen’s artistry.
Despite all the soul, confidence, and heartbreaking honesty still present, Love Came Down features Owens trading in some of his prowess for vulnerability. Each song, be it an original or a rendition of a classic, is performed with effortless passion. Each vocal line is smooth and soulful, but never soft or boring. Owens has learned to harness some of his famous energy and release it when the song calls for it. He is still the same fervent performer but now a hint more Smokey Robinson meets Al Green and less Michael McDonald meets James Brown. Owens has officially come into his own and an even better artist for it.
Most importantly, his passion for faith, family, and love is front and center like never before. Every single note sounds as if his vocal cords are attached to his very heart. On the album’s closer, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Is A Zillion Light Years Away”, Owens shares the mic with his father. The admiration, adoration, and love between these two elevates the song above Wonder’s original and stands out as my favorite moment of the entire record!
Just like Soul Of Cash and Soul Of Ferguson, Love Came Down is released on vinyl through Soul Step Records. Hearing this record on the format brings these songs to life even more and makes me feel like I’m in church. Being a preacher’s son, I’m sure that was Brian Owens intended and with that, I say mission accomplished!
Love Came Down is now available on vinyl from Soul Step Records.