It will be lead single ‘New Mexico’ which gets the publicity and the plaudits, and to be fair if you team up with Calexico for a lockdown-inspired album that is inevitable.
“Want to go to New Mexico”, Owens intones as the distinctive drum chug and guitar work of Convertino and Burns soundtrack this lament. However, ‘Paul Newman’ is a great 90 seconds of spaghetti theme (‘Clint Eastwood’ surely?) and ‘Riverline’s almost filmic start completely belies the Edinburgh-based songwriter’s stereotypical description as a purveyor of Americana.
The EP is all very much themed around the desert even without the Calexico guys – “burning heart, burning sand?” goes one lyrical line, but ‘Tombstone Rose’ is more classic Owens in sound if not title and lyric – understated and complete, yet totally acoustic. But as part one of a trilogy, one suspects there’s much more to come.