On January 27, Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg will transform into a reggae hall as Snowshoe native Shawn Owen performs songs from his new album.
Residing now in Annapolis, Maryland, Owen is returning to the West Virginia hills to celebrate the album release with friends and family.
Music has been a part of Owen’s life since he was a child in an elementary school play. “Singing a solo in fourth grade for the Christmas play was my first live performance,” he said. “I was in concert and marching band through middle and high school, playing trumpet and percussion. The first rock band I was in was in 10th grade. I sang and played drums for First Period Instrumental. I think the homecoming dance was our first gig.”
After high school, Owen formed Moosehead Bob with Pat Cumashot, Andy Hall, Bill Browning, Jamie Warner and Brad Sewell. That band became Stolen Element, with Cumashot, Hall and Browning remaining as members. Once Stolen Element broke up in 2009, Owen became a solo act.
Although he grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, Owen’s musical influences come from a warmer climate.
“I’ve always been drawn to the ocean and the beach vibe,” he said. “I went on a sailing trip with my family when I was about 12 and we only had three CDs with us; Bob Marley “Legend,” The Best of the Doors and a Jimmy Buffett album. I pretty much listened to Bob the entire week, and the sound and the vibe just hit right at home.”
These influences leaked into Owen’s work. “When I started writing music, the reggae/ska beats and rhythms just seemed to come to the forefront,” he said. “Sublime was a huge influence for me also, so I think it was just a product of the music I listened to, and where I wanted to be in life.”
Owen said his new album has an acoustic reggae vibe and consists of six songs: Wanting for Earning, Sure, Make Money, Taylor, Double Vision and Walk of Shame. “I had my percussionist Ben Bays on it, a guest vocalist named Viki Nova and then my mom, Sue Owen, came and played tambourine on it, too,” he said.
After the release, Owen plans to hit the road to promote the album. “I play pretty regular in Maryland and West Virginia, and I’m starting to branch out into Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey,” he said. “[I’m] trying to get on a regional touring schedule by the summer.”
The release party,”Pay What You Can Show,” will be Friday, January 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg. The event will be catered by the Pretty Penny, of Hillsboro. “Blair Campbell is catering the reception before the show,” Owen said. “We will have free beer, wine and finger foods for guests from 7 p.m. until the show starts around 7:30. She is basing the menu around reggae/island themed food and the tracks of the CD. She’s doing Make Money Mojitos and Walk of Shame Chocolate Brownies.”
Photographs for the album were taken by Snowshoe resident Kirsten Boehmer.
Visit www.pocahontastimes.com to hear the clip, “Walk of Shame.”
by: Suzanne Stewart