A fine songwriter and superb live performer, Matt Owens is the real deal ...”

Americana UK

Matt Owens

After selling a million records for the best part of a decade with folk/pop indie darlings Noah and the Whale, Matt Owens has been establishing himself as a ferocious live performer with his exceptional band The Delusional Vanity Project and now 4 solo albums down,  is in equally high demand as a collaborator with other artists: a quintessential Songwriter’s Songwriter.

Often lauded for his relentless work ethic, and regular 3 hour shows, he also runs 2 Americana festivals a year in Bath with his brand The 7 Hills, and at the ever-growing “Festival within a Festival” at the Lovefields Site at Glastonbury Festival.


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Americana-UK review of Way Out West release show at The Sound Lounge

Live Review: Matt Owens & The Delusional Vanity Project, Album Launch at Sound Lounge, London - 16th February 2024

February 26, 2024 Ken Beveridge Live Reviews

Picture by Jonathon Cuff

It is a busy, vibrant crowd that take their seats at Sutton’s popular Sound Lounge in anticipation of hearing the launch of Matt Owens’ newest album – ‘Way Out West’ – the follow-up to the ex-Noah & The Whale member’s second album ‘Beer For The Horses‘. He is joined on stage with his current band – The Delusional Vanity Project. Matt’s introduction, as ever these days, highlights his passion for his music, but also his conviction to continue in his drive to change the current London-centric base for Americana music towards the South-east of England in general and to Bath in particular.

What follows is a twenty-song adventure into the heart of modern alt-country, blues and Americana. Whilst advising that the evening would be split between an acoustic and an electric set, this writer found it hard sometimes to differentiate!

The opening acoustic set begins with the nostalgic ‘Twickenham Station’. A slow bluesy paean, name-checking the likes of Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart, The Rolling Stones and The Who. The harmonica playing is reminiscent of Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ period. We also hear, for the first time, the silky guitar playing of the magnificent James Jack. We hear more great guitar playing a few songs later when the magnificent Keiron Marshall joins the band for the lovelorn ‘Hope The Darkness Pulls You Through’. A couple of songs later ‘Both Sides Of The Line’ sees the tempo quickening with both the drumming and the organ playing turned up a notch or two (acoustic did they say?).  Yet again, another great song that had me thinking of Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance’.

‘Cactus Flower’ from the 2020 ‘Scorched Earth’ album sees the band travel to Australia to take on the mantle of Tom Petty with even more haunting guitar work from James Jack. For the magnificent ‘Five Years into Marriage’, the band are joined by the superb Hannah White.  A wonderful song cataloguing the gradual, seemingly inevitable break-up of a relationship. Poignant lines like ‘I love you – I’m just not in love with you anymore’ tug at the heartstrings.

The second set certainly sees the decibels increased commencing with the Willie Nile like ‘One For The Grapes’ (the opening track of the new album.) This really ups the noise level and the dual guitar interplay between Matt and James Jack is an aural masterpiece. The evening continues with the band trawling their impressive back catalogue and introducing more new tracks from ‘Way Out West’. These included ‘Death, Sickness and Heartbreak’, a number that raised the sound levels yet again. Matt’s guitar work again excelling. The drumming of Eddie John (excellent throughout) was particularly insistent on this drum-driven blues number. Further new tracks include ‘Glasgow City Lights’ where the previously subtle but subdued organ sounds of Geoff Widdowson (one time Danny and The Champs keyboard player) explode and drive on the whole band on this excellent tuneful and bluesy song.

A lovely evening, in a lovely venue. A great show showcasing an outstanding new album from an awesome band

Matt Owens & The Delusional Vanity Project (with Hannah White)

New Single featuring Matt Owens and Hannah White out 2nd February 2024

Matt Owens and Americana Music Association UK award winner Hannah White combine forces to duet on 5 Years Into Marriage, from the forthcoming album Way Out West.

Matt Owens & The Delusional Vanity Project

New Album Way Out West - Release Date 16th February 2024

For a man on his 4th album in just over as many years, Matt Owens is fast honing just how he likes to make his own records.

Cut live to tape, with The Delusional Vanity Project all together in one room, they play to serve his searingly honest songs, written about subjects most songwriters do the right thing and stay well clear of. 

 Song-based, valve-driven, twin-guitar weaving rock’n’roll, all from heavy enough players that can morph into a heady-jam at any moment if the mood takes them, The Delusional Vanity Project are the type of band which you don’t hear enough of anymore.

His rock’n’roll is in the song-noir, literary vein of his heroes: Warren Zevon, Craig Finn and James McMurtry. Sonically it lies somewhere between a Stills-led Crazy Horse or The Heartbreakers bolstered by the dual-keyboard player onslaught of the E Street Band.

In the post Covid wasteland where bands are shrinking to duos and lone-wolves, Owens has gone the other way. Starting out as a solo troubadour (with harmonica and guitar all present and correct), The D.V.P blossomed from a duo with fellow Little Mammoth Jimmy Besley on drums to the current 7-piece gang of West Country All-Stars.

Geoff Widdowson (Danny and The Champs/ Treetop Flyers) & Jim Godfrey (Billy Bragg) hold down keyboard corner, whilst guitar duties are shared with the prodigious James Jack (Clemencie) who Owens has been jamming with for 10 years after a chance meeting at a festival in the Scottish Highlands. Legendary Bristol session-player Duncan Kingston holds down the low end, and Scandinavian Chanteuse Camilla Skye returns to sprinkle a touch of class over proceedings. 

 And then there are the guests…

Having forged a decent CV as an in-demand guitar-slinger in recent years (most notably for Robert Vincent and Hannah White,) both feature here with star turns, Mr Vincent even showing his hand as a master blues harp player. Keiron Marshall regularly guests for a three-guitar attack and for one of the finest moments on the record, stepping up for an exquisite solo on “Hope the Darkness Pulls You Through.”

The album is titled Way Out West.

Way Out West was the name of the guitar store (down the road from Twickenham Station) where Owens’ bought his first electric guitar.

Way Out West was what the Irish called the far-flung parts of Cork, Shannon and Kerry where he began to re-connect with the cornerstones of his song-writing at the height of Noah and the Whale.

Way Out West was what fellow Londoners thought of Bath, when he announced out-of-the-blue he was downing tools and moving to Somerset. It’s where he now revels with his Bath-based Band.

With the group 18 months more “road-tight’ and battle-hardened than their greener selves that cut Beer For The Horses, The D.V.P recorded at Bert Jansch Studio in Frome (fast becoming a West Country institution with Ethan Johns being a regular.) There’s more swagger, more guile, and a hard won “pawnshop telepathy” (another discarded album title) that has crept into the ether.

It's his strongest batch of songs to date.

Produced by Matt Owens and Milo Ferreira-Hayes with additional production from James Jack and The Delusional Vanity Project.

Order Way Out West