We Lost a Kind, Caring, Wonderful Man- Al Owen
Al Owen was a musician’s musician. He was loved by the Sarasota/Bradenton performers and music fans alike. The Suncoast area musicians are a tight group who don’t see each other often but they rally together for all kinds of events to help the community whenever needed and Al was at many of these events. He was always friendly and willing to give this photographer a good shot or two.
When I first met Al, he was doing double duty playing in his band Soul Purpose and also in the Tucci Toler Band. I had known Dan Toler since 1980 when he was my neighbor and played with the Allman Brothers Band. Songstress Twinkle and I decided to go to Ace’s on that cold January night in 2012, to see what was going on. We really lucked out that night because bad ass bass player Patti Brainard was jammin’ with them. Twinkle joined the jam for an incredible cover of “Stormy Monday” Al was standing next to her playing guitar and smiling. That was a special evening of just one of the many nights I photographed Al Owen playing guitar and singing with a smile on his face.
Sande Caplin who worked with Al on a couple of projects pre-pandemic and I asked some of Al’s musician co-workers and friends to share their thoughts and stories about Al. We tried our best to share as many as we could.
Lisa Larkin – Lead singer of Seven Years Past and singer in Decades Rewind:
Once in a while you come across someone in your life that is just “unique“
I didn’t know Al very well until he got in touch with me and asked if I would fill in for one of the singers of Decades Rewind… He was very adamant about me doing it he knew I would really enjoy it… So before long I agreed, next thing I knew I was across from his bunk in the bus. In the morning sometimes I could hear him waking up and I knew he was going to be pulling his curtain back soon so I would pull my curtain back quietly and just have some god-awful face staring at him, then quickly close my curtain like nothing happened and he would just laugh… You know one of those big belly laughs. I think he even snorted a couple times which made me feel proud-LOL
He was the kind of person you always look for when you arrived… Where is Al? Because you knew he was going to be right there with something funny to say. Sometimes it didn’t make sense which even made it funnier, to me at least. We had decided that we pretty much have the same kind of sense of humor… during the shows he was always ready and excited to do it.
The first time I ever saw him sing “A Little Help from My Friends”, I stood backstage with my mouth gapped open because I couldn’t believe how ridiculously awesome he was at physically doing the movements and singing it! It was brilliant… I would always look forward to that.
He would go off stage change the shirt and messes hair up and he would come over and asked me if it was messy enough and I’m like no, do it more and he would…
There was not a time that I wasn’t just grinning from ear to ear watching him do that song from backstage. It was definitely one of the highlights of the show for sure.
There’s a lot of people that knew Al much better than me, just goes to show you that when you have a
personality like his you feel like you’ve known him forever. How does a bright light like that ever go out?
Steve Tucci- Lead Singer Tucci Project
The Tucci Project deeply mourns the passing of our guitarist / vocalist Al Owen who positively touched the lives of everyone he met. His stage antics, musical excellence and powerful vocals molded the sound of our band family. We strongly urge all who haven’t yet to please get vaccinated!
Twinkle Yochim- Lead singer of Twinkle and Rock Soul Radio
One of my favorite memories of Al was when he came into The Daiquiri Shack and I introduced him to “Twitch”, (my friend Scott Anderson who is also a fantastic musician from over the bridge). They had some things in common and ended up playing a Larry Norman song that only they knew, and it was great. I loved seeing them connect through humor and music and like-minded-ness. We all went on to play much music that night and it was yet another reminder of how we are so fortunate to have the musical community that we do. We are all the better for having known Al Owen. My heart goes out to him and his family. So much love to them. I would like to add to that if I may, Al’s smile and sense of humor lit up every stage and room he ever walked into. The saying is true, “to know Al was to love Al.”
Mikey Silbaugh – Lead singer and guitarist of Concrete Edgar and former bandmate of Al’s in Soul Purpose
I have never met a more passionate person in my life than my brother Al Owen. Some people are passionate about one thing, a hobby or an individual art. Al was passionate about every aspect of life. In this order his daughters/family, God and Jesus, his friends and his music. When he entered a room, whether he was performing or not, he was an inviting beacon of light and the room became his.
From the moment I met Al he was an inspiration for me. A best friend at first sight. He encouraged me to try to fit a mold that he set on himself and every other local Sarasota/Bradenton musician. “You are a rock star” he said. He was shocked when I shyly asked him in 2008 if they could make space for me in Soul Purpose. On stage you could see the friendship. Constantly daring the other one to reach further. That huge grin from my right side became almost a trophy to strive towards. This found a perfect spot in the studio. Every song was a masterpiece (whether it was or not) that he nurtured no matter who wrote it. His creative force and attitude were amazing and unstoppable.
There are not many moments in life that you are blessed to meet someone like Al. Someone that talented and special. I know when I think about Al or tell Al stories, I will feel like a Dan Akroyd about Belushi or a David Spade about Chris Farley. I was so blessed to share the stage with such an amazing talent and one of the BEST friends I have ever known. I will forever miss him with all my heart. I love you brother.
Jimmy DeLisi- Guitarist, Musician, Songwriter, Producer
Here are some of my thoughts that I’m thinking about it as I’m reflecting on Al Owen. First of all his kind nature, he was a gentle giant. I have known him since high school and every time we would bump into each other or just get together to play he would light up the room with happiness and love and fun I’ve known him as a friend for over 40 years, I can honestly say that he was always the same beautiful person.
Super talented, super unique, super generous, and super loved by everyone that came in contact with him. I don’t know one person that had a bad thing to say about him. People are actually drawn to him because of his kind nature. He loved his friends and worshiped his family.
He’s the guy that if you walk into a restaurant and the waitress was having a bad day, he would make sure that he got a smile out of her before we left. And that is a true scenario, one that
I’ve witnessed over and over and over again.
I don’t have many friends that have been friends for so long. It’s an eye-opener actually. I am heartbroken as well as many others. There aren’t many Al Owen’s in this world, if there were, this world would be a much much better place. I could go on and on, and I probably owe him to go on and on, but I will spare you my heartbreak and leave you with these words- I love Al Owen he’s my brother in arms and we took on the world with our music and it was some of the best times of my life!
Peter Gatti- Producer and Co-Founder of Decades Rewind
Al was the best friend a person could have. He was always there when you needed him. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was kind, funny, talented, humble and loving. His laugh was booming and infectious. He never wavered in his faith in God and his love for anyone he knew. He was an incredible singer/song writer and could have easily been a radio DJ with his deep loud voice.
He was a vital part of any band he played with. With Decades Rewind he was the music director as well as guitar player and was simply the heart and soul of our organization.
He was the king of one-liners – we called them Al-isms. If you knew Al, I’m sure you find yourself saying a line of Al’s, “I swear to Bob”!
Rebecca Songbird and Steve Arvey– Singer and Guitarist
This one took my breath away… (It ought NOT to ever have happened, yet God’s in charge of the “final decision”, I suppose.) I was hesitant to ACCEPT this, to say the least.
We’ve lost a true SOUL Brother, & a fellow ROCKER when it comes to THIS guy: Al Owen was at once FUNNY, encouraging, & yet, still “Real” with the enthusiasm of a genuine Artist when it came to his craft; he truly knew how to write & perform ORIGINAL MUSIC! His beautiful heart for others along the path will be missed… I’ll always remember how he made me feel “relaxed” & appreciated as an individual. Doing the John Lennon Tribute together at Skippers Smokehouse was MORE FUN because Al was there; bowling’ me over with his ready smile! PEACE to our Al Owen~ My deepest sympathy, love & PRAYERS go out to his beloved daughters, band mates, fans, & followers.
Tony LeClerc- Bass Player Twinkle Rock Soul Radio
Al Owen was my friend. We shared many laughs together. He was a great big affable warm hearted funny guy. He had a lot of love in him. He knew my family before I did. We were never in the same band together, but we did share the stage quite a few times. I filled in playing bass in his praise and worship band at his church a few times when he asked.
We never discussed religion or politics but we both knew where the other stood and NEVER argued about it. Imagine that.
I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this. Al is the latest in a very long and growing list of good friends that are no longer with us. If you knew Al, you then you probably were his friend immediately. I know I was. So, until I see you again, I’m going to miss you man.
Sheri Nadelman, singer/songwriter/photographer/writer
I think it’s safe to say that many, if not all the established local musicians, including myself, have had the pleasure of playing with Al Owen. My personal musical journey began at the local jam sessions. If we were lucky or persistent or both, we would form a band or two and go on to play the local circuit. The same holds true for my dear friend Annalise O’Brien, lead singer of “B-Movie” whom I was introduced to through Al. Al became an integral part of B-Movie after they met under similar circumstances, during the jam’s in the 1990’s. Al, along with Annalise ‘s husband Sean and fellow musician Bain Beakley, wrote and recorded original material and became a favorite in the local indie music scene.
Al had an uncanny way of connecting people. In fact, up until the covid lockdown, the O’Brien’s would host legendary jam sessions at their home that would include an array of musicians, oftentimes with Al in the middle of it all, lending his mad guitar and vocal skills. I will forever be grateful for the friendship I was blessed to have with him and because of him.
This teddy bear of a man who met every situation with a sense of humor, leaves bear sized imprint on all of our hearts.
Quote From Facebook Al Owen the Heart and Soul of the Tucci Project Band. He brought kindness, Love and Laughter to all. He, loved by so many will be deeply missed. He touched the hearts of us all. He will always be remembered as he entertains the Saints and Angels of heaven. We Love you Al Always. Zoe Caldera
Another From Facebook-This one hurts. So sad to see my buddy pass. This is a huge loss to the music family and friends.
RIP Al. You always lit a room up with your positive love for life. Going to miss The One and Only “Large Man at Large” Stretch!!
Posted on Facebook by Al’s Daughter, Candace Wiant
This feels impossible to write, I don’t really think I fully accept the reality of this yet. Yesterday afternoon my Dad, the literal sweetest person that has ever lived, left his physical body and is now with God and our precious Grandma Lollie. His soul, his spirit has always been other worldly. He made every single person he encountered feel special and worthy and loved.
The outpouring of love my family and I are receiving from his friends is a testament to that. He made friends everywhere he went. Often when I’d meet someone new in town, I’d eventually find out that they already knew my Dad and they’d immediately say, “you’re Al’s daughter?! I love Al!”. That’s just who he was larger than life in the most genuine way possible.
He gave the BEST bear hugs, and an infectious booming laugh. When my sisters and I were little, he delighted in embarrassing us by singing to the music in the grocery store at full volume or taking us through a fast food drive thru & speaking with a southern drawl or a British accent while ordering. He ALWAYS told us how proud of us he was, and we are so proud to call him our Dad.
It feels really wrong that someone who spent their life giving out so much love had to leave us, but if you knew my Dad you know we will still feel his presence and his spirit here on earth. We can honor his legacy by loving one another, being good friends to one another and trying our best to bring joy into the world each day that we are here, just like he did.
Photo Credits- Jimmy Delisi, Vicky Sullivan, Steve Tucci, Facebook Photos, Decades Rewind, Tucci Project Website and other various photos from Facebook
Al Owen, Artists, bass player, Bradenton, Candace Wiant, COVID, Guitarist, Jimmy DeLisi, Lisa Larkin, Memories, Memorium, Mikey Silbaugh, music, musician, Peter Gatti, Rebecca Songbird, Sande Caplin, Sarasota, Sheri Nadleman, Singer, songwriter, Steve Arvey, Tony LeClerc, Twinkle Rock Soul Radio, Vicky Sullivan