Welsh-born Judith Owen’s debut album for Linn marks her return home from life in the United States where she has established herself as a heartfelt singer / songwriter.
On Happy This Way Owen brings to bear her singular sense of humour and raw emotionalism to create a homage to her native Britain that is at once poignant and funny.
Co-produced by Owen and John Fischbach - engineer of Stevie Wonder’s classic 1970s album Songs In The Key OF Life - songs range from the upbeat 'Painting by Numbers' to the melodic epic scope of 'Conway Bay'.
Highlights include performances by Julia Fordham, Ian Shaw, Richard Thompson, Cassandra Wilson, a remix by Quantic and others.
'I do love the human condition and I can’t write about anything else', says Owen. 'I’m fascinated by what I know and see in myself, and in other people. I think this album embraces that thoroughly - how you just have to enjoy the ride, every second of it.'
'Owen's alluring vocals are a constant, the gift that keeps on giving.' Washington Post
'...a drier, hipper Norah Jones.' LA Times
'...the kind of wailing folk-jazz voice that slices away surfaces to touch vulnerable emotional nerve endings and leave you quivering.' New York Times
This is a love-letter to Britain, filled with the sights, sounds and musical styles, that influenced and sustained me as a child and adult, and sustain me still... 6000 miles away in America: nights at the opera, Ronnie Scotts & the 606 Jazz Club, meloncholy folk songs, bad summers, Welsh castles and Scottish lochs, the pomp, circumstance and rock'n'roll sexiness of London, and the glorious fair, sunless skin that lurks beneath every spray-on tan I see today.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by John Fischbach at Piety Street Recording, New Orleans; Groove Masters, Los Angeles; The Village Recorder, Los Angeles; Air-Edel, London; The Town House, London; Ironwood Studios, Seattle
Engineered by Wesley Fontenot (Piety), Rich Tosi (Groove Masters), Vanessa Parr (Village), Nick Geelen (Engineer, Air-Edel), Nick Taylor (Balance Engineer, Air-Edel)
Concert master Simon James (Seattle)
Orchestral Arrangements by: Jeremy Holland-Smith (Sympathy, Dark Clouds); Hummie Mann (Conway Bay)
Quartet Arrangements by: Jay Weigel (Love Has 2 Faces)
Additional Arrangements by: Grant Mitchell (Happy This Way, We're Only Human)
Photography Rob Shanahan
Art Direction Brian Porizek
Sleeve Design John Haxby
Hair and Make-Up ElizaBeth Sloan
All Songs ©2007 Dog On The Bed Music (ASCAP), except ‘Nicholas Drake' ©2007 Dog On The Bed Music and Dos Duettes Music (ASCAP).
All rights on behalf of Dog On The Bed Music controlled & administered by Songs Of Mam (ASCAP).
‘Enough (Quantic Remix)' : Additional writing & production by Will Holland for Quantic. Quantic appears courtesy of Tru Thoughts. Will Holland is published by Full Thought Publishing.