In my humble opinion

Owen Walsh: ‘On My Way’

Posted 5/31/23

Born and raised in Honesdale, PA, folk singer Owen Walsh has been singing, writing, playing the guitar and crafting original songs for as long as he can remember.

While pursuing those passions …

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In my humble opinion

Owen Walsh: ‘On My Way’


Born and raised in Honesdale, PA, folk singer Owen Walsh has been singing, writing, playing the guitar and crafting original songs for as long as he can remember.

While pursuing those passions at Ithaca College, Walsh interned at the River Reporter, and after getting his degree in journalism, has worked closely with the paper until his recent move to Asheville, NC.

Walsh has just completed work on his first full-length album, titled “On My Way,” so I gave it a listen in advance of the June 1 release date. Then I called him to discuss the songs and his journey getting to this point.

JCF: Even though you majored in journalism in college, it looks like your minor in music has won out. True?

OW: I wasn’t sure which aspect of my degree would take precedence, because I love both writing and music. Now that I live in Asheville, I’m concentrating more on the music, because I now have the opportunity to perform in a variety of venues.

JCF: Why Asheville? Is there a vibrant music scene that I’m unaware of?

OW:  Yes. For the past few years, every time I told someone that I’m a musician, inevitably they would mention Asheville. I kept hearing that the region was the place to be. There’s a big brewery scene, with lots of venues like Here and Now and the Cooperage in Honesdale that offer live music. My girlfriend Mollie and I spent last year in New York City, where she completed grad school, but neither of us felt like big-city people. We both grew up in Honesdale and prefer a different pace—one that has more trees and less traffic. We’ve been in Asheville for three months and are really enjoying it.

JCF: I thought that musicians need to be based in major cities like Nashville and Los Angeles to build their careers.

OW: Nowadays, with the internet and social media, it’s possible to live elsewhere and still pursue those goals. There’s a great organization, Folk Alliance International (FAI), and they present regional conferences that showcase new artists. I found it’s a great way to meet other musicians and perform for professionals in the industry. There are radio DJs at the conferences, along with people who own venues and are looking for new talent. Those conferences present a great opportunity to perform my original music and advance my career.

JCF: Let’s talk about the variety of genres on the album. I like that you’ve thoughtfully described what influenced the mood of each song. Do I hear a bit of country blended with folk and Americana? On occasion, I think I detected a Southern twang. Is that by design?

OW: I’ve heard that it catches people by surprise on occasion. I’ve never consciously tried to sound Southern. I think it goes back to my early old-school country influences, like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.

JCF: That said, do you consider yourself to have a musical “persona,” one that differs from day-to-day life?

OW: I do feel different when I’m on stage. While I may not be boisterous and talkative off-stage, it’s because I like to sit back and observe. I’m not necessarily seeking attention, but that’s altered when I’m performing and literally in the spotlight.

JCF: Let’s talk about the songs, which also feature range, some very folksy, and a few with real New Orleans-style grit. I love some of the track titles, like “Hurricane,” “In My Bones” and “Kings and Pharaohs.” The album sounds incredibly well produced. It sounds expensive. Was it?

OW: I’m fortunate to have worked with an amazingly talented producer named Ted Weckbacher. Ted has toured extensively as a musician but is based in Honesdale now, which is where we met.  We recorded the album in his basement over the course of a year, utilizing all real instruments. There’s something organic and satisfying in the process of recording with the real thing, rather than a synthesizer. I had a drummer, an upright bassist and Ted, who played a variety of instruments and helped to create backup vocals on the album as well.

JCF: Aside from growing your audience on media platforms like YouTube, Spotify and Instagram, it’s my understanding that “On My Way” is about to hit major markets and gain more followers. How did that happen?

OW: I’m working with a promoter who I met at one of the FAI conferences. She expressed interest and is well connected in the industry. She knows the album inside and out, and starting in June will be reaching out to radio stations throughout the country. This is the first time that someone is helping me promote my music. It’s exciting.

JCF: What’s the goal? Sold-out shows at Bethel Woods, nice breweries in Asheville? Or is it something in between?

OW: Yeah. I don’t have fantasies of being a touring artist playing gigantic arenas, like I might have when I was a teenager. But I do hope to gain enough of a following that folks will buy seats at moderate-sized venues. I hope that people will like my music and want to hear more. That’s kind of my dream. If I can sing my original songs and make a living for myself, Mollie and our dog—that would be perfect. That’s the goal.

JCF: Clearly you are on your way. I’m guessing that writing articles for the River Reporter will take a backseat to your music career now.

OW: I probably won’t be covering Honesdale borough council meetings at some point, but it would be nice to always have some sort of presence in the paper. The River Reporter has been a great outlet for my journalistic endeavors. It’s been a great relationship.

I knew Owen Walsh for ages before I ever heard him sing. I was taken by surprise the first time, but now I know better. This guy has what it takes and is surely on his way. Check out Owen’s new tracks wherever you listen to music, and to download and purchase his new album, “On My Way,” click here.

Owen Walsh, music, Asheville


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