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In line with his adventurous nature, Owens, who now holds a masters degree in business administration, has been very successful in a number of endeavors that developed parallel to his music career over the years. In fact, if you look up the word, “Entrepreneur” in the dictionary, there’s probably a photo of Andy there with a big smile on his face, holding his F-5 mandolin. In addition to construction work, past businesses include managing practices for medical doctors in the Dallas area and a sleep disorder clinic. Andy is also an avid Scuba diver, with more than 300 dives in his log book, including training in deep technical diving and depths of 330 feet on dives exploring shipwrecks and reefs.
In 1999 Andy and Cathy Owens sold everything and left Dallas with their two sons to go on a 12-month musical walkabout they called “The Bluegrass Expedition.” Endorsed by Gibson Instruments, Fishman, D’Addario and Intellitouch Tuners, the family performed in 28 countries before ending up back in the states 63,000 miles later, settling in the mountains of North Carolina near guitar stylist Doc Watson’s home town, Deep Gap.
In addition to current gigs managing a telecom marketing business (1-800-Pathways.com) and the bed & breakfast-style Lonesome Pine recording studio (www.lonesomepine.com), Andy made the decision in 2006 to return to an aggressive international performing schedule, beginning with a late summer and fall tour with Druha Trava, followed by a long string of dates in May 2007 with the band. Some shows will be billed as “Andy Owens & Druha Trava,” which will feature Owens on lead vocals and mandolin, backed by Lubos Novotny on resophonic guitar, Lubos Malina on banjo & whistles, Emil Formanek on guitar and Petr Sury on bass. Renowned Czech singer/songwriter/guitarist Robert Krestan will lead Druha Trava at some appearances, with Andy as a featured guest.
Owens has a new CD out, Drive South, with Druha Trava on his own 1-800-BLUEGRASS label, and they’re working on a second one. Drive South, featuring Andy on lead vocals and mandolin backed by Druha Trava, has a couple of originals on it, alongside covers from The Allman Brothers, John Hiatt and Warren Zevon. No matter which way the set list zigs or zags, Andy’s soulful, free-flying vocals and galloping mandolin are the connecting elements, backed by a band that can literally handle anything thrown at them.
“They’re so tight, it’s just unreal,” Andy says about Druha Trava. “They pay such attention to dynamics, more not playing than playing sometimes, and only playing things that make a difference to the song. Also, they’re a great band because they play together all the time. Most of the members have been together for 13-20 years in one configuration or another.”