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The Hard Way

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hailing from Alabama, Owsley has been nurturing and honing his own unique and virally-infectious melodies for some time. His debut album Owsley received huge praise from the media. People Magazine heralded him "poised for overnight success," while Rolling Stone trumpeted "Beatle-esque balladry and magnetic pop hooks." His latest release "The Hard Way" continues his road to perfection. Sultry love songs rub against the hookiest pop south of Canada. Check out why his legion of fans are growing by the minute. This is a true masterpeice of pop craftsmanship.

Band Members: Will Owsley-Electric guitars on all songs, acoustic guitar on track 3 and 8, piano on track 6 and 7, pass guitar on track 5, 6 and 8, vocals and background vocals on all songs Chris McHugh-Drums and percussion on all songs Michael Rhodes-Bass guitar on track 3,9 and 10 Jimmie Lee Sloas-Bass guitar on track 1 and 7 Millard Powers-Bass guitar on track 4 Jonathon Hamby-all Hammond B3 organ, piano on track 4, Chamberlin strings on track 5 and synthesizer on track 9 Keith Thomas-Strings on track 1 and 6 John Painter-Chamberlin strings on track 2 Gordon Kennedy-Electric guitar and background vocals on track 7 Tom Bukovac-Electric and acoustic guitar on track 1, bass guitar on track 2 Rebecca Walker-Background vocals on track 10 Simon Petty-Harmonica on track 8 (Appears courtesy of Foodchain Records) James Michael-Vocal production on track 8

Review

"Beatles-esque balladry and magnetic pop hooks" -- Michael Moses, Rolling Stone, April 8, 1999

"Owsley prefers to paint luch pop-art pictures with an ELO-by-way-of-Fountains of Wayne brush." -- Jonathan Perry, Boston Phoenix, April 29, 1999

"Packed from beginning to end with beautifully catchy songs..." -- E!online
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
1
30
4:37
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2
30
5:22
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3
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3:55
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4
30
3:41
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5
30
3:25
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6
30
3:56
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7
30
3:26
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8
30
4:07
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9
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3:46
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10
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5:34
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 2, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: December 2, 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Lakeview Entertainment
  • ASIN: B00013M0NQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,859 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Acronychal on September 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I have to disagree with most of the reviews for this album. First of all, having worked as an engineer with Will personally, I can attest that he needs little, if any, pitch correction as mentioned in another review. He's a fantastic writer and musician, a cool person to talk to, energetic, and always in pursuit of more fans. I, as many, didn't hear of Owsley's solo efforts until the release of "The Hard Way," and find it in addition to his debut release to be pop masterpieces. Less Beatle-esque, and more radio friendly as far as the general public and new listeners are concerned. Most people aren't looking for Beatles reincarnates when searching for great music, and neither am I. This record, as mentioned in other reviews, is far more melodic, and somewhat reminiscent of many of your favorite songs, making it easily and quickly lovable. I am personally a huge fan of Owsley and have introduced his music to many others and continue to do so. Buy this album, accept it for it's wholesomeness, and you will be his next #1.
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Format: Audio CD
I picked up Owsley's first album simply because the cover was cool - just a guy jumping insanely high in the air with his guitar. His debut album was a superbly crafted pop gem that was undeniably catchy. This new album is the logical next step. It's not as good as the first album (also a 4-star for me), but it's more of the same: radio-friendly catchy songs that are perfect for singing along to with the car windows down. I feel that the songwriting has matured and the lyrics are better (no Zavelow House here). Owsley channels the Beatles and Bob Dylan at times, and his connection to Ben Folds shows up in quite a few songs, but overall he's simply interested in rocking out - the focus here is on melody. The catchiness of the songs doesn't mean that they all sound the same - Owsley definitely has his commercial style down, with some organs, synths, electronic drums, harmonies and distorted voice sprinkled around the edges. It's a warm, fun, rock sound. A surprise cover of "Band on the Run" is hidden in one of the songs. In the end, if you're okay with catchy music that doesn't pretend to be any deeper than it is, you'll like this album. Owsley is definitely a worthy artist to add to your list of "obscure but phenomenal" artists.
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Format: Audio CD
This record has repeatedly made me late--when it's on, I want to listen & absorb it all. Bad for me, but in a good way. It doesn't help that the last (official) track, Rainy Day People, is my favorite on the record, melding perfectly from the song before it. I adore Abbey Road, so maybe that's why I can't get enough of the last part of the record: The Hard Way, Dirty Bird, Rain Day People, and the hidden & accurate McCartney homage, Band on the Run.

The first half of the record is heartfelt and honest. "Matriarch" is an especially touching song of mourning. But my vote, if you're going over the music samples, is to check out the end. Especially if you like later Beatles.

( ..and, if you get the chance, see him live! This is a studio album, but every tune sounded amazing in concert. As testimony to the him and the guys he toured with, they successfully covered Steely Dan. That's no easy feat.)
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Format: Audio CD
I've waited impatiently for this record for some 2 years or so and the wait is now over.Some people seem to think that Owsley has gone all out for commercial recognition with this record,I don't agree ! His first record was a lot sweeter and more overtly poppy.This record to me has a harder edge whilst retaining the sublime melodies of the first record.
Every time you listen to it your opinion will change of the best track(always a good sign)as "Matriarch","The Hard Way","She's The One" and "Be With You" could ALL be number ones in a parallel universe.They won't of course, because everybody knows you need a good dance routine to sell a record !
In summary then, a superb record, that you should own if only to stop the Nicklebacks of this world from making a living !
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Format: Audio CD
Will spent 16 years in Amy Grant's band, which is how I came to find out about his own music. He was a fantastic guitar player, singer, writer, and producer. He sadly passed away April 30, 2010. Rest in peace, Will. This album is full of fun pop music, and it shows a lot of hints at his influences, almost to the point of it sounding dated, somewhat like it came from the '70's instead of when it did. You can hear the Beatles influences, especially, listening to the harmonies and chord progressions. This is definitely not like Amy's music that he made a living playing, but it IS very good quality stuff, and highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've belatedly discovered the two wonderful albums by Owsley this past year. So tragic that he passed away at such a young age, especially considering how gifted he was as a musician and songwriter. And this guy truly excelled at what he did. I was nearly tempted to give this album 5 stars. I enjoyed his debut album very much, but I think this one could be even stronger overall. It's not as immediatly catchy, and as other reviewers have noted, there is a harder edge to some of the songs, but it all sounds strong to me. Owsley's style can fit the power-pop mold, or even slightly alt-country on some songs. It's those times that he reminds me a bit of the underrated Bill Lloyd (of Foster & Lloyd fame). Ten good to great songs, plus the amazing bonus track, a faithful version of Paul McCartney's "Band on the Run." Love that guitar sound! If you enjoy tasteful, melodic pop-rock music, packed with hooks and intelligent lyrics, don't miss Owsley's two albums. Very memorable recordings.
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