Tuesday, May 04, 2010

My Pop World Is Falling Apart

Will Owsley, the Middle Tennessee-based singer, songwriter, engineer and guitarist known professionally as Owsley, died April 30 of an apparent suicide.

Mr. Owsley was Amy Grant’s touring guitarist for 16 years, and his own music veered into edgier, power-pop terrains. He was nominated for a Grammy award for his engineering work on 1999 solo debut album Owsley, released through Giant Records.

He teamed with Millard Powers and Zak Starkey in early 1990s pop band The Semantics, a group that signed to Geffen Records. And his vocal and guitar work were favored by famed producer Mutt Lange, who hired Mr. Owsley to perform with Shania Twain on numerous national television shows and awards programs.

Giant Records dissolved soon after Owsley’s release, and Mr. Owsley set about writing and recording independent follow-up The Hard Way. He constructed the album in his home studio, and it won positive reviews.

“We are all reeling today from the news of Will Owsley’s death,” Grant wrote in a posting to her website. “So many of us in Nashville worked with Will, lived with him on the road, celebrated his talents and knew his anguish. Please join us in praying for his family and children.”

Mr. Owsley leaves behind a wife and two children. No memorial service details are yet available.