Spirit Ridge (In The Footsteps Of The Lion Tamer)

by Dean Owens in Eyemouth, Scottish Borders, United Kingdom

We did it
On 21st April 2023 we successfully raised £17,085 with 120 supporters in 32 days

Help me record my next album at the atmospheric Crinale Studio near Bologna (Italy), with musician/ producer/ film-maker Antonio Gramentieri

by Dean Owens in Eyemouth, Scottish Borders, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

I am over the moon that I am definitely able to go to Italy to make this record, thanks to everyone’s generosity.

The campaign runs till 21st April. Any additional pledges will go towards promotional costs like films/videos, photography, artwork, PR etc that are essential to getting the album out into the world, and giving it its best shot. 

There are still rewards to be claimed, from helping because you believe in the project, pre-ordering the album as digital, CD or vinyl (which will be delivered before the official release date), to special bundles, commissioning a song and hosting your own private concert.


This project is part of the 2023 Creative Scotland Crowdmatch competition. Creative Scotland will match individual pledges from the crowd up to £10,000. So if you donate £20 to the project, your donation will be matched with a £20 pledge from Creative Scotland, effectively doubling your donation! The match funding for this project is now complete.



As an extra special THANK YOU to everyone for jumping on this campaign so quickly and so generously there's a new reward, for ALL supporters, including those who have already pledged. A FREE download of any album from my back catalogue. Choose which one you want at the end of the campaign and I'll send you a download code to use on my Bandcamp site. Everything's available there, and a few exclusives as well.


I'm a singer songwriter from Scotland. To date I've recorded 8 (official) solo albums (with 1 more on the way in May 2023), mostly in the US, with some amazing musicians and producers. My most recent - Sinner's Shrine - was recorded in Tucson, with musicians from the legendary Calexico, and released in 2022. I'm delighted that it's had some of the best reviews of my career, including from publications in Netherlands, France and Italy.

I don't have a major label behind me, and I have self funded the recording of all my albums, including successful crowdfunding campaigns. I have a small team of go-to industry professionals who help with release and promotion.

For my next album, Spirit Ridge, I plan to head to Crinale (near Bologna) in Italy. Crinale (which means ridge in Italian) is a studio set up in a beautiful 400 year old farmhouse, in the Emilia-Romagna region, way up on the ridge above the towns of Brisighella and Faenza. From Crinale you look out towards the hills of Tuscany.


My reason for going there is to work with renowned Italian musician, songwriter, producer and film maker, Antonio Gramentieri, otherwise known as Don Antonio. I was first introduced to the music of Don Antonio through his fantastic band Sacri Cuori (described in this great Guardian review as "mischievous imaginary soundtracks ... with touches of Mexican brass and homegrown folk... a shapeshifter").  Calexico's John Convertino had played on some of their records and after working on my Sinner's Shrine album, John introduced me to Antonio as he thought we would connect and hopefully make something great together.

Last October I went out to Crinale for a recce, and to meet Antonio and his bandmates. Sure enough, we got on like a house on fire. The area where the studio is located is truly inspirational, and I began writing even while I was there. Since I got back I have been writing a whole bunch of new songs and I am ready to go back and record.

This is a very short video showing the studio (inside and out) and some brief clips of jam sessions with me and the guys:

Emilia-Romagna is also the region where my Italian ancestors come from. Some of you will be familiar with my song Dora, written about my grandmother being born into the circus that was formed by my great, great grandfather Ambrose Salvona, the lion tamer, who came from the Parma area. So, I guess with this new project I really feel like I'll be following in the footsteps of the lion tamer.

I will spend around two weeks working with Antonio and his network of talented musicians, including members of his current band, The Graces. This feels like a very natural progression from Sinner's Shrine and I'm very excited about the material I've been writing. Antonio understands the whole Desert Noir feel that I love so much and captured on Sinner's Shrine with the guys from Calexico and he is a master of creating a very cinematic soundscape.


The funding will go towards:

  • Travel to Italy
  • Hiring the Crinale studio for 1-2 weeks (including sound engineer, food and accommodation)
  • Employing musicians - Antonio and his bandmates plus some additional session players
  • Creating demos in a Scottish studio before I go, as sketches to work from
  • Bring a professional film maker with me to Crinale to document the process, including taking photos, recording interviews and filming some of the sessions for promo use for the album release (and for sharing with campaign supporters).
  • A specialist video editor to edit the film footage into professional promos
  • Mixing (approx 7-10 days in a studio, with sound engineer) and mastering
  • Commissioning designer/artist to create the initial logo/images for the album, including for the reward items like T Shirts

I am ready to travel as soon as I have raised the funding, and have space provisionally booked at the studio. My aim is to make the best album I can and to release it in 2024.


I hope you will consider joining me on the journey, by supporting this campaign, and choosing the reward package that suits you best. There are lots of reward options (all named after mountains and ridges) including:

  • Supporting it just because you want to help
  • A copy of the finished album (digital, CD or vinyl), with options to have it signed and your name included in a special thank you on the album artwork.
  • Exclusive "bumper bundles" including demo recordings, various Spirit Ridge branded items like postcards, stickers, badges, T Shirts and more.
  • Commission me to write and record a song especially for you
  • Have me play a special intimate concert in your own home, or in a local venue of your choice, just for you and your friends. We can talk you through how to do it if you've never hosted a house concert before. It's very easy.
  • For fellow beer lovers there's even a couple of very limited special rewards kindly donated by two of my favourite local businesses - Bear Claw Brewery and Curfew Micropub (Berwick on Tweed). You will need to be able to pick them up in person, but these rewards will be available as soon as the campaign is complete.

The cost of shipping is included in the reward amounts, and we can ship to anywhere in the world.

Just click on the reward level of your choice from the list on the right to make your contribution and get the reward you want. Some of them are limited availability, so the earlier you jump in the better. 

I fully understand that these are very difficult times for everyone financially, but if you've enjoyed Sinner's Shrine (or any of my previous albums) I really believe that you're going to enjoy what I plan on creating with Don Antonio in the land of my ancestors.


This will be my 10th official album release. I am very aware of the challenges involved and I take my responsibilities to my supporters very seriously. The plan is to release the album some time in 2024, so it will be a little while before you will be able to listen to anything, but I will keep you updated on progress throughout.

PS Finally, a little music to enjoy, from my Sinner's Shrine album (which was made possible by a successful crowdfunding campaign):


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£50 or more

Mount Etna

Digital download copy of Spirit Ridge + A SIGNED copy of the CD (in advance of the official release date) + A set of art postcards (featuring the album artwork) + Spirit Ridge poster + Spirit Ridge badge/sticker + An exclusive CD (or download) of demo recordings for the album

£10 or more

Arthur's Seat

Easy entry level - support it because you believe in it. Doing a good thing is its own reward, but you'll get a big virtual hug from Dean!

£20 or more

Mount Vesuvius

Opt for Italy's iconic volcano for a digital download copy of the Spirit Ridge album

£30 or more

Ben Nevis

Choose UK's highest mountain for a digital download copy of Spirit Ridge AND a copy of the CD in advance of the official release date

£35 or more

Stac Pollaidh

Scottish mountain known for its deep grooves! This reward is no frills, for a VINYL copy only, delivered in advance of the official release date. Includes tracked shipping

£40 or more

El Capitan

A digital download of Spirit Ridge + A SIGNED copy of the CD + A set of art postcards (featuring the album artwork) + A Spirit Ridge poster

£65 or more


Get it on VINYL. The Mount Etna rewards but with a signed vinyl copy instead of a CD. A set of art postcards (featuring the album artwork) + Spirit Ridge poster + Spirit Ridge badge/sticker + An exclusive CD (or download) of demo recordings for the album

£100 or more

10 of 20 claimed

Mount Kilimanjaro

Digital download of Spirit Ridge + A SIGNED copy of the CD (in advance of the official release date) + A set of art postcards (featuring the album artwork) + Spirit Ridge poster + Spirit Ridge badge/sticker + An exclusive CD (or download) of demo recordings for the album + Spirit Ridge T Shirt + Hand written lyrics of any Dean Owens song of your choice + AND your name on the album credits on the artwork

£125 or more

8 of 20 claimed

Mont Blanc

The VINYL PLUS choice! All the rewards for the MOUNT KILIMANJARO level (digital, signed CD, your name on the artwork, T Shirt, postcards, poster, badge/sticker, demo CD, lyric sheet of your choice), but with Spirit Ridge as a signed, vinyl release as well

£150 or more

0 of 2 claimed

The Pentlands

Very special limited edition reward: The BEAR CLAW BREWERY package - donated by Dean's favourite local brewery (Check out the info panel for a link to their website). A 5 LITRE KEG of one of Bear Claw's specially brewed ales + a Bear Claw T Shirt PLUS all the rewards for MOUNT KILIMANJARO level - OVER 18s ONLY. - KEG MUST BE COLLECTED (from Bear Claw Brewery)

£250 or more

3 of 10 claimed

Mount K2

Climb the mountain! - Dean will write and record a song just for you, on a subject of your choice (digital download (or on CD or memory stick if you prefer). PLUS all the rewards from MOUNT KILIMANJARO level (signed CD, T Shirt, postcards, poster, badge/sticker, lyric sheet, your name on artwork, demos CD)

£550 or more

4 of 5 claimed

Mount Everest

The pinnacle! A private concert by Dean in your own home/local venue of your choice for family and friends. PLUS all the rewards from MONT BLANC level - signed CD, vinyl, your name on artwork credits, demo CD, lyric sheet, Spirit Ridge merch including T Shirt, postcards, poster, badges, stickers... and anything else we can find! We love you! NOTE: Travel and/or accommodation costs may apply for distances further than 100 miles from Berwick

£75 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Blue Ridge Mountains

THE ACOUSTIC GUITARISTS CHOICE. Dean's favourite CAPO - the G7th Performance 3 (with lifetime guarantee), customised with the words "New York Hummingbird" and his Hummingbird logo. Only 2 available - 1 silver, 1 black. PLUS all the Mount Etna rewards (signed CD, postcards, poster, demo CD etc). NOTE - the capos can be shipped as soon as the campaign is over. ADD £15 IF YOU WOULD PREFER VINYL TO CD

£150 or more

1 of 1 claimed

The Cheviots

Very special limited edition reward - CURFEW MICROPUB vouchers. - Enjoy free beers at another of Dean's favourite haunts in Berwick on Tweed (Check out the info panel for a link to their website). A gift voucher for £20 + a Curfew T Shirt + Beanie. PLUS all the rewards for MOUNT KILIMANJARO level - OVER 18s ONLY. (Only available in person! But the voucher is redeemable as soon as the campaign is over)

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