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His newest album with Druha Trava, as yet un-named, is in the process of being finished and will include mostly Owens’ original songs, with a few songs from Kristofferson and Mark Knopfler. Owens says, “I am really proud of this record. It is the first time I have done a record with mostly my own original songs, and the sound is fresh with such a great feel from the band.” It was recorded in the Czech Republic with Owens’ personal portable recording equipment. “I’m proud of that, too,” he adds. “I engineered, produced and recorded the whole thing on the road with the band in several different really neat locations in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.” This album will be out in time for the May 2007 tour.
When he’s not touring overseas, Andy and his 14-year-old son Cameron Owens, on bass, perform stateside with “Andy Owens & 1-800-Bluegrass” and a newly formed band called “freeGrass” that appeals to the local college and young “Deadhead” market. The latter band, inspired by the New Jersey-based Railroad Earth band, features an eclectic line-up. “It’s kind of a jamgrass band with drums and a really good rhythm section, and a lot of original music and some covers, too,” Owens explains. “We have a really good fiddler named Bob Kogut. He plays old-time and bluegrass; he’s just a real driving, solid fiddle player. Cameron plays bass and cello. Randy Paisley plays guitar, banjo and Dobro. I’m playing mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin, guitar and probably some banjo and pedal steel. Then we’ve got this guy named Zawadi Morrow–a former classmate of my son Stuart and a really fine musician. He plays keyboard, sax, flute, guitar, bass, whistles and drums, and he’s good on all of them. He’s a scholarship pianist at Appalachian State University. What I want freeGrass to be is a dance band with bluegrass sensibilities.”
Whenever Andy Owens picks up his Gibson mandolin, whether it’s locally with his son at his side for new college-aged audiences or in some far-flung location halfway around the world backed by Druha Trava or with a group of local musicians perhaps in China, his intent is to boldly take bluegrass music where it has never gone before, in addition to showing off great bands and musicians he feels honored to share the stage with. Bluegrass music is lucky to have Andy Owens, the big man with a Kentucky bluegrass heart wearing a Texas cowboy hat, helping to spread the genre around the globe with such an adventurous, fun-filled spirit. They couldn’t ask for a better ambassador.
For bio info on the band, Druha Trava, go to: http://www.druhatrava.com/
For more info on Andy Owens, go to http://www.andyowens.com