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- Posted on May 4th 2010 10:00AM by John D. Luerssen
"We are all reeling today from the news of Will Owsley's death yesterday," Grant said in a statement on Saturday, according to his hometown paper, Alabama's Anniston Star. "So many of us in Nashville worked with Will, lived with him on the road, celebrated his talents and knew his anguish. Please join us in praying for his family and children."
In the mid-'80s, Owsley left Anniston for a career in Nashville. He first earned notoriety as Judson Spence's touring guitarist and played on his 1988 hit 'Yeah Yeah Yeah.' Owsley also formed the Semantics with singer Millard Powers and his friend Ben Folds, who played drums on the band's demos before handing the sticks to Zak Starkey. Signed to Geffen, the band recorded the album 'Powerbill' in 1993, but it was never released in the US. However, it did lead to a 16-year alliance with Grant, who liked what she heard and soon asked him to join her touring band.
As a solo performer, Owsley released his self-titled power-pop debut in 1999, which earned him a Grammy nomination for his efforts engineering that disc. Owsley's magical, Beatles-inspired pop approach also rendered an acclaimed second disc, 'The Hard Way,' in 2004. Owsley also paid the bills working with Christian star Michael W. Smith, pop act the Jonas Brothers and country fixtures Vince Gill and Rodney Crowell.
Owsley is survived by his wife, Wendy, and two sons from his first marriage. A funeral will be held Tuesday at 3PM CT at the Parker Memorial Baptist Church in Anniston.