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From Johnny Cash to the ‘Soul of Ferguson:’ Catching up with St. Louis-based vocalist Brian Owens

St. Louis-based vocalist Brian Owens joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday to discuss recent and upcoming projects.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis-based vocalist Brian Owens joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday to discuss recent and upcoming projects.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, vocalist Brian Owens joined host Don Marsh to discuss his upcoming Johnny Cash tribute concert at the St. Louis Symphony. We  also heard a selection from his recently-released album “Soul of Ferguson” and one from his forthcoming album "Soul of Cash."

Owens, a Ferguson resident, is also the IN UNISON Artist-in-Resident and Program Manager at the St. Louis Symphony.

The upcoming performance, taking place this Sunday is less a direct rendering of Johnny Cash, but more focused on the soul behind it, Owens said. 

"Before the music, I resonated with who he was as a person: a person of faith, a person struggling with his faith," Owens said. "Being a husband, a father, a musician ... the movie 'Walk the Line,' was kind of my gateway into the world of Johnny Cash and then I started getting into the music."

The concert, and a forthcoming album from Owens, include new arrangements and renditions of Cash's work.

In February, Owens also released "Soul of Ferguson," an homage to his home. 

"I feel like even still now, it is important for people to know about the good that happens in Ferguson but to also look at the stuff that has happened in Ferguson as an artist interpreting it," Owens said. "I feel like on this album, I was able to capture the heart of Ferguson. People still fall in love in Ferguson, people still raise their kids in Ferguson and people still deal with struggling with their own issues when it comes to race and diversity. I think it is important for us to struggle together.

"I feel like this album and the Cash project and everything I do is for us to provide a platform for people to get together."

Listen to the full conversation, and samples of Owens' recent music, here:

Related Event

What: St. Louis Symphony Presents "The Soul of Cash: A Tribute to the Music of Johnny Cash"
When: Sunday, May 21 at 3 p.m.
Where: Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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