Local Wire

G-Owens: R&B Singer's The Feeling Has Pop Appeal

As 2012 draws to a close, we'll be looking forward to the 2013 and spotlighting 13 Phoenix bands that will be making a mark on the Southwest throughout the new year. This entry comes from Jason P. Woodbury, examining the funky textures of G-Owens' excellent new record, The Feeling.

G-Owens' full-length debut, The Feeling, is dizzying. Owens croons, raps, and emotes over 11 tracks that deftly mix jazz, soul, R&B, boom-bap hip-hop, and sensual quiet storm aesthetics.

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Like Frank Ocean's breakthrough Channel ORANGE, Owens' The Feeling never slides into full on retro soul territory, instead taking elements from the past four decades of popular music.

The sweeping strings of "Love You Better" could come from D'Angelo's Voodoo; "Second Time Pt. 2" rides a stuttering beat and Stevie Wonder electric piano; "The Thought that Counts" is haunting, sounding like it could come from Common's neglected Electric Circus.

This kind of ambition often sacrifices artistic clarity, but Owens sounds confident and sure the entire album through, with a brazen, earthy voice that finds equal footing in nimble hip-hop verses and aloof singing. As part of the Earsweat crew, Owens finds himself in good company, but stands out as the most pop focused vocalist, one poised to make big moves in 2013.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.