First Person Singular by W.P. OwenRelease date: February 9, 2018
What comes first to your mind when somebody utters the term singer/songwriter? In these times there are quite a few possibilities that can explain it, but in the case of W.P. Owen or William Patrick Owen, to be precise, and his debut album, First Person Singular, it is that first time around, verbatim definition – a guy (almost solely) with his acoustic guitar, singing what’s on his mind.
And when Owen named his first album First Person Singular, he meant exactly what the title says – he’s singing about himself. Oh, also about himself and himself. He does have a way with words though if you don’t mind a few expletives here and there, particularly if it is the opening track (‘Settle Down’).
Now, a good friend of mine is a poet and he would certainly say that W.P. Owen’s lyrics fall into the category of “my pains”, otherwise more widely known as navel-gazing. In essence, that would not exactly be everybody’s cup of tea. But in a situation when your music is mostly your guitar and your voice uttering the words you are bound to pay notice. And paying notice will certainly raise a few eyebrows among some, others will really like it, and then there’s that third category of those who wouldn’t care less.
Sticking to the musical side of things, that voice that utters the lyrics can uncannily remind the listener of one of the ultimate British singer/songwriters, Bert Jansch, with some shades of another renowned name of the genre, Donovan, neither of which is a bad thing.
On the contrary. Owen’s guitar stylings though are more Donovan than Jansch, meaning good enough to carry his music along. Some of the tracks, particularly live ones can, unfortunately, let your mind drift elsewhere, but the ones that do have some multitracked vocals or guitar or piano atmospherics, like ‘Velvet Petals’ or the closer “Life Elsewhere’ do show promise of possible good things to come from Owen and probably a musical direction he should head towards.