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Mountain Home

Owen Temple

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Customer Reviews

Country, folk, bluegrass and blues from talented Texas songsmith

Owen Temple’s last album, Dollars and Dimes, took its concept from the socio-political ideas of Joel Garreau’s The Nine Nations of North America. Temple wrote songs that explored the regional ties of work and cultural belief that often transcend physical geography, zeroing in on the life issues that bind people together. With his newest songs, he’s still thinking about people, but individuals this time, catching them as a sociologist would in situations that frame their identity in snapshots of hope, fear, prejudice, heroism, and the shadows of bad behavior and disaster. As on his previous album, his songs are rooted in actual places – isolated communities that harbor dark secrets and suffocating intimacy, a deserted oil town lamented as a lost lover, a legendary red-light district, and the Texas troubadours in whose footsteps he follows. The album’s lone cover, Leon Russell’s “Prince of Peace,” is offered in tribute to a primary influence.

Temple’s songs are sophisticated and enlightening, offering a view of the Texas west that’s akin to Dave Alvin’s meditations on mid-century California. He writes with a folksinger’s eye, observing intimate, interior details of every day life, and painting big, mythological sketches of Sam Houston and Cabeza de Vaca. The latter, “Medicine Man,” was co-written with Gordy Quist, and recently recorded by Quist’s Band of Heathens. Temple’s music stretches into country, bluegrass, gospel and blues, and he sings with the confidence of a writer who deeply trusts his material. Gabriel Rhodes’ production is spot-on throughout the album, giving Temple’s songs and vocals the starring roles, but subtly highlighting the instrumental contributions of Charlie Sexton, Rick Richards, Bukka Allen and Tommy Spurlock. Temple has made several fine albums, but taking intellectual input from Garreau seems to have clarified and deepened his own songwriting voice. This is an album that ingratiates itself on first pass, and reveals deep new details with each subsequent spin. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

Mountain home

Owen Temple is a great story teller, which he proves again on Mountain Home, his just released CD. We always try to catch him two or three times a year when he comes to Houston. He sings about historical figures who shaped Texas, and he sings about local places and people in a way that makes both very real. And he does it well!!
I love the title track. If this is your first OT cd do me a favor and get General Store as well, still my favorite. I do not know anything about music, but I love it nonetheless, and have really come to appreciate Owen Temple's folksy-bluesy style. I love coming home from work on a Friday and putting Owen Temple on, having a cold beer or a glass of wine, and listening to Dry Creek (favorite track on General Store), a place I hope still exists, kicking back, loosening my shoes and just relaxing.... I have a 5 cd changer. Owen has them all. Mountain Home is quickly moving up the ladder, the more i listen to it. My wife and two daughters are fully converted OT devotees, as is my boss. if you love Texas, it's history, people, the landscapes, and the spirit of the Lone Star State, or if you just enjoy good storytelling delivered soulfully, let Owen Temple translate for you. His music does so, very eloquently.

Owen Keeps Getting Better

Owen Temple long ago established himself as a talented lyricist, and in that sense his latest album, Mountain Home, remains true to form. What makes the latest offering stand out, however, are the sparse, arid musical arrangements, which not only allow the lyrics and the compelling stories they tell—stories of homebound parolees, dying West Texas oil towns, and mythic figures like Sam Houston and Cabeza de Vaca—to take center stage but actually enhance those lyrics’ emotional impact. This effect is most evident on the elegiac second track, “Desdemona,” where the barely audible instrumentation combines with Temple’s mournful vocals to place the listener among the empty buildings of the titular Eastland County town, which died when its oil reserves were depleted.
The first eight songs evoke feelings of, by turns, isolation, longing, apprehension, and fear (although, paradoxically, the lyrics are often hilarious). Whether the protagonist is an ex-con heading back to his rapidly vanishing hometown after a 20-year prison sentence or a world-famous explorer trying to convince his cannibalistic captors of his magic powers, each song masterfully depicts a character (sometimes more than one) who is a square peg in what seems like a world of round holes.
However, the last two tracks, a cover of Leon Russell’s “Prince of Peace” and the unabashedly optimistic “One Day Closer to Rain,” turn those feelings on their ear by reminding us that we are all in this together and that better times are just around the corner, an equally powerful and well-spoken message—and one that is refreshing to hear.

Biography

Born: December 4, 1976 in Kerrville, Texas

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s

The Texas-based singer/songwriter Owen Temple immersed himself in his father's country music collection at a very young age, learning to sing by listening to records by Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen, Jr., and James McMurtry. After relocating to Austin to attend the University of Texas, Temple began writing songs, intensely focusing on the craft of those who came before him. His debut album, General Store, appeared in 1997; Passing Through followed two years later. However, college...
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Mountain Home, Owen Temple
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