OWSLEY Owsley (1999) + The Original 1997 Independent Version

OwsleyOwsley (1999)

FIRST POSTED IN 2010: I was saddened to read about the death of Will Owsley on April 30th. The guitarist is best known for his two, pure and genuine power pop albums – this self-titled effort being his first major label solo release – and for his earlier work in the excellent pop outfit, The Semantics. Since pop rarely pays well, Oswley made ends meet working for Amy Grant and doing session work for the likes of Faith Hill, Michael McDonald and Charlotte Church (among others), but one listen to 1999’s Owsley, should illustrate pretty quickly where the guy’s heart was. AMG states that Owsley is “about as ideal as pop solo debuts get.” And… all it should take is one listen to confirm that. Find both of Owsley’s solo albums at Amazon, Owsley (HERE) and 2004’s The Hard Way, (HERE). Check the archives for two posts from The Semantics, their sole LP from 1996, Powerbill (HERE) and some rare, unreleased demos (HERE).

Oh No The Radio (5:01)
I’m All Right (3:06)
Coming Up Roses (4:03)
Good Old Days (3:29)
The Sky Is Falling (3:47)
Sentimental Favorite (3:29)
Zavelow House (3:42)
Sonny Boy (4:23)
The Homecoming Song (3:00)
Uncle John’s Farm (2:38)
Class Clown (5:48)

FrontOwsley (1997)
The Original Indie Release

Big thanks to George The Penguin for sharing this uber-rare, original release of Owsley, issued independently two years before being remixed by Tom Lord-Alge and re-released on Giant Records in 1999. Mixed primarily by Semantics co-hort Millard Powers (we’ve got some solo Powers, HERE), this earlier version has only a slightly different tone and feel, and isn’t mixed for radio like the later version. Besides the original mix, the running order is different and contains one song that didn’t make it to the 1999 version, “Mess With Me” (which was replaced by two newer tunes, “I’m Alright” and “The Sky Is Falling”). This CD has been notoriously hard to find, and for that we should all thank George The Penguin heartily.

The Homecoming Song (2:56)
Coming Up Roses (3:53)
Good Old Days (3:28)
Uncle John’s Farm (3:10)
Sentimental Favorite (3:26)
Oh No The Radio (4:57)
Zavelow House (3:32)
Sonny Boy (4:22)
Class Clown (3:31)
Mess With Me (5:00)


  • Erik
    May 7, 2010 - 15:22 | Permalink

    I was also sad to hear of Owsley's passing. I heard "Oh No The Radio" on a static filled college radio station soon after it came out and frantically scribbled down lyrics on a notepad while driving so I could look it up later. Great tune.

  • Brad Geiger
    May 7, 2010 - 16:26 | Permalink

    10 months ago Owsley's hometown newspaper did a story on him after he performed with Amy Grant in Birmingham, in which he said he wanted to be buried next to his grandmother "when the time comes". He was 43 at the time. The fact this sort of thing was on his mind suggests he was closer than anyone thought to ending his life.

  • Anonymous
    May 7, 2010 - 18:09 | Permalink

    This is the first I'm hearing about this. I'm stunned. When I got his first CD I'd play Oh No the Radio for anyone and everyone. Such a shame that he's gone, but I'm grateful for the music he leaves behind (and for Capt. Willard and his blog)

  • Pythag
    May 7, 2010 - 18:24 | Permalink

    I'd never heard of him. So glad I have now.

  • Capt. Willard
    May 7, 2010 - 15:12 | Permalink

    Search HERE

  • Anonymous
    May 7, 2010 - 22:14 | Permalink

    In Nashville, Tenn., the place where Will Owsley lived out his passion for music, the skies have opened up and the town is flooded.

    In Anniston, Owsley’s hometown and the place where family and friends came to say goodbye one last time to this beloved and talented man, the sun was shining brightly. It was shining right through the stained glass at Parker Memorial Baptist Church where a standing-room-only crowd was on hand.

    As his pastor from Nashville said during Tuesday’s funeral, Will “could light up a room.” That was evident among the hundreds attending the services for Owsley, who died Friday in Nashville. He was 44. Friends of the family were there. As were Owsley’s peers who grew up with him.

    And there were many famous faces from the recording industry, the ones who knew Owsley as a well-regarded musician from Nashville. Their presence was a reassurance that Will left Anniston a talented musician with ambition; his famous musician friends returned this final time to tell us of the artist they knew, loved, respected and will miss terribly.

    It’s a well-known story of a kid who loved music and who spent long hours honing his craft. The tale follows on with the young man playing in dives, looking for a break. And in Owsley’s case, this hard work paid off as he found success.

  • side3
    May 8, 2010 - 03:30 | Permalink

    Beautiful music. I was looking forward to more. RIP Will.

  • Brad Geiger
    May 8, 2010 - 15:19 | Permalink

    After I finished listening to it all I could think was, "Where would Owsley be today if millions instead of 1000's had heard this masterpiece back in '99?"

  • Scott
    May 9, 2010 - 01:05 | Permalink

    I bought this CD two years ago at an fye store for around $3. Wow! Best $3 I ever spent!

    I remember first hearing about this guy back in 2000, he was on some sort of music show on HBO, along with Beth Hart (another underrated talent). Sad that very few even took the time to listen to his music (regretfully, I didn't until '08). Really hate that he's no longer with us in order for him to experience our appreciation of his music. I would love it if someone out there could upload the bonus track from the Japanese import version of this same CD. Then I would really be happy!

    You are doing music fans like us a huge favor, helping to expose us to new stuff. And for this, I thank you!

  • Capt. Willard
    May 9, 2010 - 01:32 | Permalink

    I also came late to the Owsley party. Somewhere around '05, and also only paid a couple of bucks for it. And… I'd love to hear that bonus track, too. Anyone?… Bueller?…. Bueller?

    • Wink
      July 13, 2014 - 20:05 | Permalink

      I’ve got some Owsley rarities including the Japanese Bonus track. Just don’t know how to post them so y’all can get them. Any tips?

      • Willard
        July 13, 2014 - 20:15 | Permalink

        Zippyshare is the easiest way. All you need to do is “zip” the mp3 files together (Google can help you with that) and then go to http://www.zippyshare.com, click “Browse” to find the zip on your computer, then click “Start Upload.” Once it’s finished, they give you an address you can post. You can do the same thing with individual files (songs), without zipping, but it takes longer and you end up with a slew of addresses, so it’s not convenient. But… if you’re stuck on how to zip mp3s together, it will work in a pinch.

        • Wink
          July 14, 2014 - 19:19 | Permalink

          Well, here the Owsley rarity files are. I’m not the original poster for this, just sharing what someone else had out there.

          Here is the link:

          Rare tracks by Owsley from singles, guest appearances, and compilations:
          1. Psycho (A-side of single released in 2005)
          2. Changes (EP Track from Christian Band “Blue Sky Secret”, co-written and some singing by Owsley)
          3. Endlessly (Demo)
          4. Mess With Me (Japanese bonus track from first album)
          5. Leave It All Behind (Demo for Amy Grant)
          6. Upside Down (B-side of single released in 2005)
          7. Got a Lot On My Head (From “Substitution Mass Confusion” Cars tribute)
          8. When Lonely Comes Around (From Owsley Yahoo Group, written & sung by Owsley and Vince Gill)
          9. Band On the Run (From Paul McCartney Tribute “Listen to What the Man Said”)

          First post, hope this works.

          • Willard
            July 14, 2014 - 20:34 | Permalink

            Well done, many thanks Wink.
            Thanks for the notes, too.

            Feel free to post this in Readers Links, too, in you’d like. More people (including non-fans) will see it on a regular basis and it will get more downloads (especially after this particular post falls off the front page).

            For those interested, the collection is called “Changes,” the bit rate varies from 192 to 320, sounds excellent and comes with front cover art.

            Thanks again for the rarities, Wink.

  • Daniel Rubin
    May 9, 2010 - 04:18 | Permalink

    Been traveling. Rainbows and lightening on the road. Then I get home and get the news this way. Best way, actually. Thanks.

  • censusloss
    May 9, 2010 - 23:07 | Permalink

    Brad I am with you all the way – in right now on 1st listen and i am staggered at the exquisite sounds and ashamed I only know of such a gifted artist after he has left us

    Thank you Captain W -you are serving his memory in the best way possible

    May he Rest In Peace

  • Eremenko
    July 29, 2013 - 14:25 | Permalink

    Thanks for this and The Semantics stuff. Superb

  • Bob 1950
    July 14, 2014 - 15:43 | Permalink

    Hate to admit it but I never heard of Will Owsley until now. Really like what I heard and will be looking for music by this artist. Thanks George the penguin heartily.

    • Willard
      July 14, 2014 - 16:21 | Permalink

      He wasn’t the biggest of names, and had an even smaller profile. One of those guys that resided under the radar, despite his likability.

  • September 1, 2014 - 15:33 | Permalink

    I’m also totally unfamiliar with him, and it was really interesting to read this post and various folks’ comments and stories. Looking very much forward to checking him out…..thanks, Willard.

  • Superenigmatix
    July 15, 2015 - 20:42 | Permalink

    Thanks for the rarities etc :-) I swapped this album with a Texan online friend (both XTC fans) many years ago ( I sent him Split Enz – I live in NZ) and my kids and I loved it especially the Radio and Roses songs. Very sorry to hear of his demise, he should have been well known.

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