Jake Owen
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Jake Owen

Band Alternative Jazz


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"The "Goods""

In a word, Jake Owen is the "goods." He is from Texas. He is 25 years old. His music sounds like Jeff Buckley and John Scofield. Confused? Unimpressed? Don't be. One listen to "ONE SMALL RENAISSANCE" and it will all make sense.
Owen possesses a voice that at one moment is as slick as a rainsoaked highway, and without warning can break even the hardest of hearts. His musical savvy will captivate even the most jaded listener, successfully bringing together the unlikely pairings of introspective singer-songwriter & funk, as well as modern jazz & rhythm and blues.
You will surrender one minute into the killer opener "Gritty Teeth." With its badass groove and addictive "watching over me" refrain, I found myself creating a new mix for my iPod before the song was over. (I just knew I had to include this track.) "Gritty Teeth" evokes a vibe not unlike the great Michael Franks, smooth, yet never too sleek. By the third track, you are quite aware that Owen knows what he's doing, completely confident with handing you a 7 minute instrumental workout, "Half Of Your Finger," showing off the chops of sax player Cody Brown, not to mention Owen's own guitar prowess.
The real treasure on "ONE SMALL RENAISSANCE" is the gorgeous "All You Are." Possessing a melody any songwriter would kill to have written, and a beautiful arrangement that builds nicely until it finally tears at your heart, "All You Are" in a perfect world, would be Jake Owen's ticket. His standard. This is a smart record. A release that Owen should be proud of. I know the goods when I hear it, and Jake Owen is "the goods."
- Sal Nunziato, NYCD, New York

"Owen's Renaissance"

The music on “Renaissance” is wonderfully difficult to pigeonhole, running the gamut from introspective jazz (“Song for the Rain) to borderline rock ballad with saxophone instead of roaring guitar (All You Are). Owen and the band have crafted a thoughtful, though-provoking bunch of songs that feature five individuals with lots of chops and lots of experience working together to create music that celebrates the beauty of what can happen when reach and grasp dovetail. - Jim Beal, San Antonio Express-News

"Jake Owen"

San Antonio has its fair share of metal and rock, but every once in a while someone comes to us with music that is new and completely original. That is exactly what Jake Owen brings to the table with his new album One Small Renaissance. The album itself is an amazing display of musical ability and creativity. The hybrid of jazz fusion and groove on this album mixes perfectly to take you on a ride with its’ melancholy soul and bright funked-out grooves. Jake Owen is considered one of the best up-and-coming musicians on the San Antonio music scene, and his new album makes it easy to see why... - Jordan Slaughter, KUIW San Antonio

"One Small Renaissance - Jake Owen"

With one listen to One Small Renaissance, it's nearly unimaginable to believe that the man behind the music is only 25. But he is. The San Antonio, Texas-based artist, Jake Owen, sings with a great deal more maturity and plays with an expertise on his guitar that most only accomplish at twice Owen's age.

On Owen's latest release via Vato Loco Music, One Small Renaissance, he shines skillfully as composer, guitarist and vocalist, performing eight jazz-blues songs that soothe, inspire and enlighten with obvious similarities to his influences Jeff Buckley and John Scofield. The disc begins with the groovin' Gritty Teeth, a near seven-minute progressive jazz-jam track highlighted by a saxophone dancing freely and Owen's sultry vocals that remind me a bit of singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw. Some of my favorite tracks are the soothing Song For The Rain, the explorative All You Are and the closing number Togetherness, Loss, Longing - a highly artistic, layered and intricate instrumental that takes you on an emotional journey into other atmospheres.

For One Small Renaissance, Owen invited a team of accomplished players from Southern Texas' improvised music scene: drummer Kyle Thompson, saxophonist Cody Brown, bassist Hamilton Price and keyboardist Andy Langham. The final magical touch came from veteran producer Michael Ramos, who has worked with greats like John Mellencamp, The BoDeans and Patty Griffin. - Kristi Singer of Wilmington Star News and Singer Magazine

"Jake Owen - One Small Renaissance"

My first encounter with Jake Owen was a few years back, when he was one of the seven regional finalists in the youth division of a national guitar contest sponsored by the Hendrix family. While most of the young burners looked for a competitive edge with a hard blues or tough rock selection, Owen turned to one of the more esoteric pages in Hendrix’ book, offering his version of "Spanish Castle Magic." Whether it was a wise choice from a competitive standpoint is a question I’ll leave to others, but there’s no doubt that it made him the favorite of Seattle fans of a certain age in attendance who had their own magic memories of the legendary club that inspired the song.

That Owen’s approach would be a little different, and a little special, should have been expected, since it would take something a little different, a little special, to survive what must have been a brutal Austin bracket of the competition. His next move was a little different, too. Rather than hitting the road as the seasoned strat-slinger he was, Owen turned to academia, pursuing classical guitar and composition studies at UTSA. Along the way, he became a fixture on the San Antonio improvised music scene and continued to lead bands as he had since his mid-teens.

After completing his degree, and a residency at the Jazz Orchestra Workshop in Banff, Owen went in search of the band he needed for his next project. He didn’t have to look far. The players, saxophonist Cody Brown, drummer Kyle Thompson, bassist Hamilton Price and keyboardist Andy Langham, were all friends from years on the San Antonio scene. Owen was looking for players who could both master his increasingly sophisticated compositions and bring an improvisational capacity to the music as well. The evidence on "One Small Renaissance" demonstrates his success as the organizing leader of a band as well as it demonstrates his commanding skill on his instrument and his insight and ingenuity as a composer.

The spirit of Jimi’s still alive in Owen’s music (that performance of "Spanish Castle Magic" might well have segued into the spacey intro to "Gritty Teeth"), and the sense that he could lay down a note perfect rendition of your favorite SRV solo at will never quite departs. Owen’s new music also carries echoes of contemporary jazz masters like Frisell and Zorn, and the consequences of that classical education as well. The result is a genre stew. Owen’s vocals can move a song into an R&B space, only to find Langham’s piano pulling the music in a bop direction, while Brown’s blowing into the outside and the rhythm section flawlessly mines the musical vein that ties the parts into a phenomenal whole.

It’s dangerous business, playing music beyond categories. There’s no telling what the ‘business’ side of the business will make of Jake Owen. It’s up to lovers of original, creative music impeccably played to make a star of him, I suppose. If we do our job, "One Small Renaissance" should be the start of something big. It deserves to be.
- Shaun Dale of Cosmik Debris Magazine & Jazzreview.com


One Small Renaissance (2005)
Singles currently in rotation on college, AAA, Jazz, Rock, and independent radio stations in TX and CT.



One Small Renaissance Album Biography

While many young artists can get caught up in the need to quickly establish a long-term creative identity, twenty-five year old guitarist/vocalist/composer Jake Owen has fully embraced the ideal that his personal quest involves phases and experimentations that will forever deny him the security of a specific genre or label. While being in this position would possibly present a problem for other artists, Jake flourishes in the freedom. He has drawn from modern songwriters, composers, improvisers, visual artists, and the world around him to create a confident and mature artistic voice. The result lies somewhere between the sensitive musings of Jeff Buckley and the instrumental explorations of John Scofield. One listen to his newest effort, One Small Renaissance, will immediately show his comfort in residing in this “genre purgatory.”

“I’ve been searching a long time for comfort,” Owen remarks. “It’s just recently that I’ve discovered the joy in not knowing exactly what’s about to come around the next corner; artistically and in life.”

Jake used the transition into his mid-twenties to thoroughly explore and question his artistic mind and get a better idea of where his potential could really take him. With the release of One Small Renaissance, Jake has chronicled several moods from this period of self discovery. Tracks like “Survive” and “Song for the Rain” carefully examine the polarities of human emotion while a tune like “Gritty Teeth” gives Jake and the ensemble a chance to explore the nuances of groove and extended harmony.

While the record sounds remarkably focused and deliberate, Owen recalls that the creative process leading up to it posed quite a challenge.

“My life changed drastically within the period of a few short months. I hit this huge wall after I was done with college that made me take some serious inventory in my life. I needed to reassess what was important, what made me want to get up in the morning.”

Jake soon found himself immersed in the challenge of writing and developing a new batch of material. His deep interest in the improvised music scene around South Texas brought him into contact with several like-minded, creative players. Jake quickly realized selecting the lineup for the record was going to be just as important as the material.

“I love to compose and I love to improvise, so I made a conscious effort to develop material that was thoughtfully written and had opportunities to grow. Being surrounded by the right band became pivotal in bringing life to the works I had created.”

Owen found that intangible chemistry that all bandleaders search for within the close friendships he developed by being in the local music scene. Drummer Kyle Thompson, saxophonist Cody Brown, bassist Hamilton Price, and keyboardist Andy Langham create a lush musical canvas that confidently enhances the tunes, yet never overpowers. In addition to his masterfully coloristic playing, saxophonist Brown also contributes his original work “Togetherness, Loss, and Longing” to the record. Owen quickly cites his relationship with these friends and players as his most vital source of inspiration.

“When you’re around guys who have the ability and desire to make everyone else sound better, something magical happens. There is no room for ego. Everything else falls away and all focus comes to the present. It’s a very Zen-inspired state…yeah, these guys are pro players with a remarkable command of their respective instruments, but more importantly, they’re just great to be around. They are so willing to give so much of themselves to the music.”

Jake sought the expertise of veteran producer Michael Ramos (John Mellencamp, The BoDeans, Patty Griffin) to bring another creative force to the sessions. Recording some of the session at Ramos’ home studio allowed Jake and Michael more time to work on details while not being limited to the expense of commercial studio time.

“Working with Michael was absolutely amazing. He is so well seasoned in the studio and is so versatile. His patience and commitment to the sound and vibe of the record was astonishing- it really shines through.”

While Owen can reflect on the experience as a whole and feel a great sense of accomplishment, he is not content to sit still for long. A tireless need to innovate and develop has proven to be the only constant in his artistic life.

“This record is a huge personal milestone. I have a much more optimistic view of what I’m capable of doing as a writer, singer, player, and human being. That alone inspires me to keep looking forward. I feel much less pressure to outdo myself; it’s almost as if I have more faith in the process and how it ties into who I am.”

Jake is currently touring in support of One Small Renaissance and is writing new material for another studio album.