Chance Princes Street meeting lands Dean Owens with Edinburgh Castle gig with Texas

A chance meeting on Princes Street led Edinburgh singer-songwriter Dean Owens to the stage at Edinburgh Castle where he supported Texas on Thursday night.

He opened for the Scottish band as they made their return to the landmark venue as part of its 2022 summer concerts.

Dean, from Leith, admitted it was a “pinch me” moment - and one which also saw him play with a band he’d just met for the first time.

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“When I told a few guys I was playing there, ‘ bucket list’ was the term they used. The castle is up there along with the Barrowlands and places like the Albert Hall in London.

Dean Owens soundchecking at Edinburgh Castle ahead of his support slot opening for Texas

“It’s a place a lot of musicians have their eye on, and it was especially thrilling to play there coming from Leith.”

And the gig came about thanks to a chance meeting.

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“I bumped into an old friend, Mark Mackie from Regular Music, in Princes Street about two weeks ago,” said Dean.

Dean Owens on stage and on the big screen at Edinburgh Castle

“We hadn’t seen each other for about 15 years. He said he’d been thinking of me lately and had a gig coming up he thought would be ideal;.

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“He mentioned the castle, and my first reaction was some kind of meet and greet, or a bar near it.”

With the slot secured, Dean had to set about pulling together a band as his own musicians were all away.

“We’d never played together before. After a two-hour rehearsal, I said to them that, no matter how it had gone, we were still doing the gig. No way were we backing out.”

It turned out to be a night to remember as the crowd gave them a warm reception.

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“It was fantastic,” said Dean. “As an opening act you are prepared for the fact the crowd is coming to see someone else and may not be interested, so to get such a warm reception was lovely and unexpected. That really helped.

“A few people in the crowd knew my songs, which was great. They happened to be going to see Texas - but to get that reaction and get people singing along was great.”

“It was a case of ‘seize the moment’ - these invites don’t come along often.”

He described being on the big stage as “my happy place” – and it came at a busy time.

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The castle gig was sandwiched between trips to Germany and the Netherlands on the back of widespread European coverage of his latest album, Sinner’s Shrine, which gets its delayed vinyl release at the end of this month.

He also has solo and band gigs at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and at Fringe By The Sea in North Berwick - where Texas are also playing separately.

“It was meant to come out in 2021, but there was no chance to tour it so we decided to hold back.”

Dean recorded it in Tucson, Arizona just before lockdown with Calexico, and the presence of the indie-rock band has sparked wide interest.

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“It’s getting a lot of reaction across Europe thanks to Calexico - they are really big in Germany, Spain and France, and that has helped to open so many doors.

“If the world keeps opening up, then there’s going to be a lot more time spent travelling.”