Dollars and Dimes (El Paisano)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Aug. 14, 2009
Owen TempleDollars and Dimes (El Paisano)
Owen Temple's fifth album is quite an undertaking. Eleven snapshots of how difficult life has become for the common man in the 21st century, Dollars and Dimes also features an A-list of backing musicians including Will Sexton, Hunt Sales, Adam Carroll, and Brian Standefer. Like a host of fellow latter-day Red Dirt troubadours, however – Hayes Carll and Ryan Bingham come to mind – no matter how much thought and imagination has gone into his music, any sentiment is drained by vocals lacking in nuance and, at times, straining for notes. "Making a Life," a lilting country rocker about four people striving for more than just making ends meet, is a prime example of Temple's aim being beyond his reach. He borrows from poet William Carlos William for the chorus of "Quiet Look," and there are other moments of lyrical charm, but ultimately the singer undermines the songwriter.