By Aaron Moody
March 2, 2017
Brian Owens was in elementary school when he first heard the unique sound of Motown legend Marvin Gaye.
“It was probably ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine,’” he recalled. “But I don’t think I realized the genius of Marvin Gaye until I got older.”
Owens is now 36 and an original recording artist. But a 2013 concert series sent him down the path he is currently on, singing a tour of tributes to Gaye. On Friday, March 17, he’ll make a stop at the Garner Performing Arts Center.
“I think what tribute shows like this and others in the past do is allow us to experience the music of these great artists that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience today,” said Debbie Dunn, the cultural arts and events manager at the GPAC. “Musicians like Brian allow us to keep that music alive. I expect that the full house will be dancing in the isles.”
The tribute is the offshoot of a series of shows Owens performed in his hometown of St. Louis, where he tipped his hat to Gaye, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, to name a few.
“I was kind of digging into all my soul music influences,” he said. “Marvin was the first one I did, and it kind of stuck.”
Owens said BiCoastal Productions booking agents learned of his tribute to Gaye, and he was asked to perform the concert on a more regular basis.
He hadn’t planned on doing the show outside St. Louis, and was reluctant to accept the offer because it went against his objective as an original vocalist.
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