Will Owsley (or just “Owsley” when it came to his solo records) was an incredible musician and songwriter. No, I never met him, only enjoyed his music to no end and actually found out the news of his death via another musician I adore – Butch Walker.
Through various online sources, I have learned that Will played with Amy Grant’s band for more than 15 years. It was 1999 before he had released his first, self-titled solo record and although he never reaped commercial rewards from his solo work, his debut record did earn him a Grammy nomination. Aside from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik, his debut solo effort is quite possibly one of the most pristine sounding records you could treat your ears to. Whether or not you like the music, audiophiles would certainly appreciate how crisp of a record it is.
Owsley released his second record in 2003 (The Hard Way) and while it kicks the ass of most records out there these days, it had a lot to live up to in terms of the perfection of his first. But truthfully, it is still an excellent record on its own.
Word is circulating that Owsley’s death was at his own hand and although I can’t begin to comprehend what kind of mental state he was in or what (if anything) was going on in his personal life, I can only feel a tremendous amount of sadness for his wife, two kids and band mates that he has left behind.
Listening to his records again today, I am again realizing just how damn talented and tuneful he was. And I have to admit, I’m bummed out at the prospect of never hearing new music from him again.
If you’re a power-pop fan, do yourself a favor and check out Owsley’s stuff if you haven’t already had the chance to do so.
Will Owsley, you’re going to be missed.