Image: Dorothea Lange (cropped)
Kind of Man - Sam Owens
The name Sam Owens sounds like the sturdy, brown paper wrapper of another era. One of Steinbeck's rootless, hopeless Central Valley strivers, perhaps, or an itinerant Dust Bowl balladeer, matching social critique to melody and meter. Some names, it seems, are destiny. The actual, 2008 Sam Owens is a wandering troubadour -- claiming both Seattle and New York as home and logging his peripatetic cross-country journeys on his Myspace page. And his clear tenor is sinuous-strong and serpentine supple, an expressive instrument suited to the kind of persuasive rhetoric Pete Seeger trafficked in. But even if Owens has some old-time folkie tendencies, "Kind of Man" isn't a community-building exercise, or a song of hard-sell concepts or particular ideological agendas. It's just an uncomplicated illustration of the bitter rules of attraction -- I'm your kind of man, but you're not my kind of girl -- made blunt and a shade mean by Owens' (Bo Diddley, Everly Bros. influenced) hard rhythmic strum.
From Garden of Leaves, Part I. Owens' website.