This Red Dirt/E-One recording artist made his debut on stage at age 6, for a time he led his first cousin, Dolly Parton's, backing band, became a guitar maker extraordinaire (Ronnie Wood, Bob Weir and Sonny Landreth) before striking out on his own as an artist. One more little bit of family that may or may not come into play here is that his great-great-great-grandfather was George Grooms who was the writer of the emotive and inspiring ballad know as either Bonaparte's Retreat or Groom's Tune. However, on this disc we can see that Mr. Owens, shows some of the skills that put him in high regard, wrote seven of the tunes himself, four more with various co-writers, and the last of the songs, Rye Whiskey, is a traditional song that he arranged. The songs show a keen sense of the absurd state this world is in and are well done.
On In Farm We Trust we get to hear the versatility of Richie Owens, he handles all the lead vocals, plays somewhere in the vicinity of nine or so instruments and they are played well enough to make you sit up and notice—well enough to be picked as one of the best guitarists in Nashville, pretty good considering the number of guitarists that live in that town. He variously takes turns on electric and acoustic guitar, slide guitar and slide resonator guitar, as well as banjo, fiddle, harmonica, piano, and keyboards, probably neglected to mention some other instrument that got lost in there. The Farm Bureau is a pretty damn good band too; Bob Ocker on harmony vocals, mandolin, lap steel and lead and rhythm guitar, Tommy McRae on harmony vocals and acoustic guitar, Randy Hunt harmony vocals, and upright and electric bass, and Michael Ferguson on drums and percussion seems to sum up the main core of the band. This is one of those discs that when it was arrived in the mail left the reviewer wondering "Who?", but after listening was so glad to get it. One of those gems you are going to have to search out, however, it's well worth the effort.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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