Owen Temple Album Release
Album Release Show Celebrating the New Recording ‘Rings on a Tree’
Owen Temple’s new record ‘Rings on A Tree,’ his ninth full-length album, is a concept album – an examination of family history and the way every interaction we have reverberates for generations.
“It’s clear that our lives are a distillation and expansion of the lives that have come before us,” Temple said. “Every life, every interaction of matter and energy that happens, reverberates through the universe in an ever-expanding field. Waves of behavior that cause other waves of behavior, not just in one life, but in all our lives.
“During the Covid lockdown, I wasn’t writing much on my own, but when a friend would call and say, ‘Let’s go to a park and write a song,’ I’d always go. These meetups resulted in a reexamination of what’s important in life. We wrote songs that looked at the intergenerational interactions that created a certain wisdom, insights that transcend our narrow view of the present.”
As the songs accumulated, Temple saw them taking a spiritual, philosophical tone. “I was haunted by the ideas of our great grandparents. Shadowy, mysterious fragments of their eight lives have had major consequence on our lives, even if we don’t know exactly how. If you trace the branches of any family tree back far enough, you can see we’re all connected. That inspired the song ‘Rings on a Tree’ and the entire album.”
The underlying theme of the songs – written with Walt Wilkins, Kelley Mickwee, George Ensle, and Nathan Hamilton – suggests that we humans are all a big family with a rich, deeply intertwined history that we can and should celebrate together.
Temple enlisted the help of producer Gordy Quist to bring the songs to life. “Gordy’s been a songwriting collaborator for a long time. He took over The Finishing School, the revered studio of George Reiff (Band of Heathens, Ray Wylie Hubbard). I love his sonic aesthetic. We took the time to pause, after we played it through for the musicians in the studio, and ask, ‘Is there anything we can do to make it more interesting?’ He approached the arranging in a way that was both comfortable and challenging.”
Temple and Quist played guitar and Temple’s long time rhythm section – Josh Flowers on bass and drummer Rick Richards – laid down the foundation. Other players included Trevor Nealon from Band of Heathens on organ and piano, Noah Jeffries on fiddle, Geoff Queen on pedal steel, Dobro and guitar and invited guests adding vocal harmonies.
The music on the album flows smoothly, highlighting the journeys of individuals, families and humanity as a whole. “It’s the arc of a hero’s journey,” Temple said. “The idea of venturing out of your ordered life to have experiences that will change you for the better. The songs are artifacts from the paths we’ve walked, as individuals and part of humanity. The hope is they’ll forge a connection to the past that will help us make wiser choices in the present.”