“My first love was metal,” laughs Texas-based artist Garrett Owen of his musical awakening at the ripe old age of 14. “I realized my favorite players listened to a really diverse range of music. I read on article once where someone had Slash make a playlist with an hour’s worth of music, and it covered everything from KISS to Django Reinhardt. I then started ordering jazz and classical CDs with my allowance.” While that seems like a normal childhood sentiment, Owen’s adolescence was anything by typical. Raised by his missionary parents in east Africa and in South America, Owen readily recalls monthly trips across the Serengeti desert and daily experiencing backyard wildlife that the rest of us have to pay admission to see.
“I lived in Africa from the age of two until the age of 10. We probably crossed the Serengeti over 30 times; my parents were doing work in rural Tanzania and in urban Kenya, and that was the only way to get between the two. There weren’t real roads in some spots, and I remember our vehicle breaking down in the desert more than once,” he says. At age 19, life as he knew it took a sharp turn when his parents retired from the mission field and relocated the family to Texas. “Trying to adjust to life in the States was a terrible experience which actually resulted in a suicide attempt,” he reveals. “My social skills were trash, I had a hard time relating to people, because I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t have anything or anyone to connect to initially.”
Owen floundered, working random jobs, suffering a serious work-related injury, and enduring a difficult relationship, all of which proved a toxic combination that interrupted his ability to create music. “Getting to the point where songs could even come out of me at all again took some time,” he remembers. However, a songwriters’ night in Fort Worth changed his trajectory; “That night, I decided I had to figure out out to go after music with everything I had,” he recalls. “I started playing out as much as humanly possible.”
Now, he is preparing to release an EP containing songs that encompass his intensely unique life experiences. “Sometimes, to be alone, I would sit in a cemetery, and I started using names on the tombstones to make up stories for songs, which is how my song ‘Rose Hill’ came about. I wrote ‘Razor Blade Family’ seven months after I was hospitalized,” he explains of his darkest time and fervently credits music for becoming his therapeutic saving grace. “‘Sad Eyed Son’ combines early memories of my childhood in Africa with memories from a volatile romantic relationship I had as an adult.” In “Sad Eyed Son,” Owen’s fluidly mellow vocals are beautifully contrasted with the quickly-woven lyrical tapestry and crisp guitar finger-picking of “Sad Eyed Son.” “Everybody’s got a story to tell,” he sings. “I’m no different.”
Without further ado, Mother Church Pew proudly presents, “Sad Eyed Son,” the new single from Garrett Owen: