Surely it's time for Dean Owens to be more widely recognised as one of the best singer-songwriters in Scotland.

Man From Leith, from his previous album Whisky Hearts, would enhance any Scottish songbook; here Valentine's Day In New York sets a high benchmark for words and tune in happy fusion (although, truth be told, each and every song on the Nashville-recorded Into The Sea is a worthy successor). Owens is fast becoming a master at crafting story-driven portraits through his lyrics - Dora, which tells of his grandmother in a travelling circus; Kids (1979), a poignant blue-collar ode to the fate of school friends - and when he slows down to a ballad pace (as on Evergreen and It Could Be Worse), I'd like to think that somewhere Ryan Adams is giving him an envious nod of approval. Not only that, but his voice is as good as his writing: strong, graced with a wonderful tone, heightened by a little crack in the veneer.

Alan Morrison