Gareth Owen releases debut album at 81

At 81 years of age, prize-winning poet, novelist, BBC broadcaster and playwright, Gareth Owen released an album of his own country songs last month.

Gareth Owen

Gareth Owen has published some seven volumes of poetry, of which over a hundred have appeared in various anthologies. For a number of years he was the popular presenter of the BBC’s long-running Poetry Please! He was playing Othello in Birmingham when he met the 16 year-old Ruby Turner in the theatre and for a time managed her career. Reading The New Musical Express one day, looking for angles to help her career, he came across an article about the country singer, Tom T. Hall and was sufficiently intrigued to buy his album; became a convert to country music and began writing songs, mostly until now unheard except by close friends. Many years later, Ed Begley, the M.D. of Shakespeare miscellany he was part of, heard the songs and was impressed enough to put together a band and get Gareth into a studio to record them and Rolling By is the happy result. It’s pure Americana, with Owen’s poetic talents and his gift for a catchy tune, lifting the varied story-songs in a novel and beguiling fashion. Musicians on the album include the afore mentioned Ruby Turner, esteemed pedal-steel player Matt Park, bassist Ruth Goller, James Kitchman on guitars and percussionist Tony Bianco. Keyboards are provided by Ed Begley who also producer the album which was recorded at Giant Wafer studios in Wales.

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