Album Review: Shawn Owen Band “Make Money”

written by Dylan Schaeffer


Grab a cold one, sit back, and crank up the volume – the debut full-length release from the Shawn Owen Band, “Make Money,” is the perfect summer soundtrack. Laid-back grooves and bright horns will transport you to an island inside your mind while blistering-hot guitar solos will have you reaching for the sunscreen. With its rock, reggae, and ska roots, The Shawn Owen Band keeps the vibe bright and shining while the lyrics explore love, friendship, struggle, and perseverance.

From the opening track, “Tribute,” the band keeps the energy relaxed but bubbling along with rising energy. This energy goes straight on through “Wild Ride” into the title track. “Make Money,” it’s soulful and gritty undertones are held aloft on top of a dark reggae groove. The lyrics, riffing on ideas of the greed that has infused itself into our society, start by playing devil’s advocate asking “how am I gonna make a billion dollars today?” This question leads to a journey through the ways greed permeates society.

The fiery energy subsides a bit for “Spending Time” and “Walk of Shame,” transforming into a more mellow and heartfelt vibe. “Double Vision” and “Morning Light,” get incredibly mellow and laid-back. They are touching, loving, melodious ballads. Gradually picking up the power again is one of the more emotionally-powerful tracks of the album, “Now You See.” Starting slow and building to a powerful peak, this song asks big questions and provides big answers regarding our existence.

Back into a swinging island rhythm, we drop into “Drop In” and “Taylor,” two upbeat, groovy tunes. The real outlier of the album comes with “Unorganized Religion,” which breaks right into a New Orleans jazz jam.

The album closes out mellow and serious, with “Sweet Mary,” the deep and touching “Wanting For Earning,” and swinging “Sure/Ballad of a Girl.”

Overall, this album is an easy listen beginning to end. The energy and emotion never stays stagnant, always easing into a contrasting feeling to give proper context to every segment. A sincere point of view makes the lyrics both relatable and entertaining. For a debut album, the Shawn Owen Band has definitely proven that they are a band to pay attention to, whose musical intellect is matched entirely by emotional depth and diversity.