Under the haunting and mysterious moniker of Bones Owens, Missouri-songwriter Caleb Owens has been known for brewing up soul-stirring and swampy rock and blues, the sort you'd find belting out of the smokiest of honky tonks and dive bars in Nashville's East Side.
His self-titled debut, released in 2021 via Thirty Tigers, channelled this into a raw, alluring collection of songs that was as accessible and melodic-driven as it was boisterous and unrestrained.
But, having recently been out on the road with Koe Wetzel and co-written with one of Holler's new favourites in Peco and The Rooftops, it shows Owens certainly doesn't package himself in one box. He uses the power of his songwriting to explore vast feelings and themes that show him to be a mature and affecting songwriter.
Joining George Dickel for the Holler Pilgrimage Sessions, Owens' performance of three new, unreleased songs certainly cements such an opinion.
His session is dark and brooding, most suitable for the gently lit bar where the performances are recorded. With the stripped-back nature of the session, Owens is able to really lean in to the raw, sombre nature of these songs. Be sure though, this is no sorrowful tale; Owens growls at times, almost cries at others, ensuring the whiskey blues take hold and ruminate in your mind and soul.
'Bring Me Back' veers into the former. A brazen, petrol-doused murder ballad that would've been as suitable on In Utero as it would Chief, Owens' caustic and defeated vocal rings heavily, as he admits there's nothing that will bring him back; "got no one to call / go on, sell my records off / mama now".
'Eighteen Wheeler' and 'Heavy Arms', while softer in their tender desire, lose none of their emotional weight. Whether he's leaving someone behind to head back out on the road or observing his own fragility in the wake of a loss, Owens gently pines in hope, playing on the edges of finality while grasping onto the softly burning embers of hope.
Delivering one of Holler's most unreserved and passionate sessions to date, this is Bones Owens for the Holler Pilgrimage Sessions Presented by George Dickel.
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. CASCADE HOLLOW DISTILLING CO., TULLAHOMA, TN.