Philly: The End of the Tour for now.

Performing Ghosts live in Philadelphia in the dark moody room of Kung Fu Necktie where so many underground legends have played over the years. I wanted there to be at least one full video of a song performed live on this tour for the sake of preserving it, so here it is. Shot by MattyBeats. That's my man Gabe Valle on violin and keyboard and my man Nate Sander on electric guitar and trumpet!

It's been really fun and personally revitalizing traveling the country this last month and a half since the album came out. I played in NYC, Minneapolis, Chicago, LA, and Philly. The last night of tour ended with me standing in the dead of night, alone in Secaucus train station in New Jersey. Just myself and my vinyl. I felt strangely at peace then and felt as if I was probably exactly where I was intended to be.

Here’s a photo I took in that moment:

Dylan Owen Holes In Our Stories

And here are some of my favorite moments from Philadelphia, followed by a slideshow gallery with a ton of photos from this show. The professional photos you see are shot by Ted Butcher.

THANK YOU to everyone who came to a show and stopped by a coffeeshop meetup. Thank you to Gabe and Nate and my older brother for killing it on their instruments at every show. Thank you to Regina for holding it down behind the scenes with the organization at these shows and to everyone who helped sell merch, take photos, and every single person who signed the tour book. We will get you all in there one day…I have a feeling.

Dylan Owen Holes In Our Stories
Dylan Owen Holes In Our Stories
Dylan Owen Keep Your Friends Close

Los Angeles Show

My trip out to Los for the ages. Saw some old friends, met some new ones. Some people came out rocking the new album merch and some people knew all of the lyrics, got a lot of beautiful signatures in my tour book, tried some real deal mexican food, experienced what it's like to wake up with the sun in the morning (and to sit in LA traffic for way too long while listening to Frank Sinatra), and got to hop on stage with my older brother for the first time in about a decade. I learned about rental cars and red eye flights and hotel room coffee. LA, that show was sick, and I want to come back. Traveling is giving me a lot of inspiration so far.

Thanks everybody for making this a special tour date.

Recap video shot and edited by Tanner J. Kent.

Dylan Owen Meetup
Dylan Owen Tour Book
Dylan Owen
Dylan Owen Spencer Peyton List

A slideshow with a bunch of photos from the meetup and the show:


Midwest Tour Recap

Maybe pictures will tell it best. My few days out in Minneapolis Minnesota and Chicago Illinois were unforgettable.

A lot of these beautiful people traveled a few hours to make it to these shows and coffeeshop meetups, and that means the world to me. Gives me quite a bit of motivation to keep going.

Here’s us at the meetup in Chicago:

Dylan Owen Fan Meetup 1
The whole crew taking a group photo. Looking like a pop punk band.

The whole crew taking a group photo. Looking like a pop punk band.

My first time meeting somebody with two tattoos of my lyrics, both of them that I wrote out for him in my handwriting over the last few years. Was insanely cool to meet David in person.

My first time meeting somebody with two tattoos of my lyrics, both of them that I wrote out for him in my handwriting over the last few years. Was insanely cool to meet David in person.

Gallery of pictures from our meetup in Chicago. Shoutout to the homemade ‘happy graduation from the life you used to live’ tee!
Check it out:

Official concert photos from Subterranean, Chicago
Entire gallery below taken by Keeley Parenteau

Sail Up The Sun performed live at Subterranean in Chicago. Cell phone video, but the energy is great so I wanted to upload this. Thank you everyone for singing the words. Video by John Clawson!

The day before that, Minneapolis gave us such a warm welcome which was really nice considering we arrived on the tail end of a pretty harsh blizzard and flew straight into some cold temperatures. It was crazy for me to play in Minneapolis for the first time. Minneapolis is a place where a lot of my musical heroes originated from (Bob Dylan, Eyedea & Abilities, many more). Kristoff Krane was in the audience as I performed which was pretty damn cool to me. The cozy venue gave everyone no choice but to feel close together, and that was nice.

Here are some highlights, starting with the coffeeshop meetup and then some cool moments that got captured from the show:

Dylan Owen Coffeeshop Meetup
Dylan Owen Coffeeshop Meetup
Photo by dozeflows

Photo by dozeflows

Photo by dozeflows

Photo by dozeflows

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

Photo by Kaleb Musser

It goes without saying that it felt inspiring for me to get out of my element and to get out of New York for a minute. I will be back, hopefully very soon. Thank you to Ceschi for inviting me out on these tour dates, and thank you to every single person who showed up in MN and IL to cement these as unforgettable shows of mine. Some of my favorites of all time, for real.

Next stop, Los Angeles on May 2nd, followed by Philly on May 15th!

Tickets for LA
Tickets for Philly

Much love, and let’s keep this good energy going.


Meetups and shows in Minneapolis + Chicago

I’ll be flying to Minneapolis Minnesota and Chicago Illinois to perform in both cities for the first time this weekend! My first time stepping foot in Minneapolis, too. At these shows, I’ll be opening for the talented underground veteran, and good friend of mine, Ceschi.

Here are ticket links to both shows:

If you live in Minnesota or Illinois, I would love for you to make it to these.

Because it’s my first time performing in both cities, I wanted to make this trip super memorable and get to know some people in these areas, so I’m going to host meetups in Minneapolis and Chicago as well. These will be free and open to anyone. We’ll hang out. Talk. Get some coffee. And get to know each other.

DM for exact location and time of the meetups.

The meetup in Minneapolis will be Saturday 4/13 (a few hours before the show)
The meetup in Chicago will be Monday 4/15 (day after the show)

Excited to get out there a little bit. much love!

Dylan Owen

Weekly videos every Friday at 11am. From now on.

I have too much to share from Holes In Our Stories. Acoustic versions of songs, videos of me performing songs live, official music videos, studio documentaries, and a ton else. Plus whatever I come up with in the meantime. So i’m starting a weekly series. New videos. Every Friday. 11AM. DYLANOWENMUSIC on Youtube.

Here’s the first installment: the making of Holes In Our Stories, pt. 1.

Dear present time, this is it. Sold out Arlene's Grocery release show.

Coming to you live from a still Tuesday in New York City. The weather is nicer than usual this time in April. I feel upbeat. More alive than I normally do from the energy of the show last Friday night. It was crazy. It was the album release show for Holes In Our Stories. I had unrealistically high hopes for it like I always tend to. And I think it may have exceeded them…

What a fun night officially kicking off the album and book. Now launched. First of all, the show was sold out, in a jam-packed, shoulder to shoulder small room in the lower east side of New York City, which made it extra exciting. The venue Arlene’s Grocery (which I had never played before) bought us a cake and wrote us a sweet card in the green room to congratulate us on the sellout. That’s a first for me, for sure! I’m happy enough to get on stage and have a working microphone. Let alone a backstage cake.

I didn’t feel nervous beforehand, but I really wanted to give this show everything I could. Something about the idea of it being the album release show added a strange amount of pressure, like commemorating the album for years to come was resting entirely on the shoulders of this one performance. So I went as hard as I could possibly go. Didn’t breathe for a second. Pushed myself to live in the moment. Here & now. Alive & well.

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

We played through our setlist which we had rehearsed every night that week, out in a small loft apartment in New Jersey getting ready for the show. Something is always different with the live wire energy of the room, though. It’s something you can’t totally quantify. More than the sum of the parts of music and live vocals and a crowded room of sweaty, buzzing people on a Friday night. Something else entirely.

Maybe it’s the idea of what us brings us together there in the first place: music, our very separate but connected stories, and to some extent, a shared understanding of the other strangers in the room.

Our set was as follows: a few lines of Break Some Ice, then cutting it off and jumping into Creases (equipped with live trumpets by Nate Sander), followed by Ghosts (where I held up the microphone and let the audience rap some of my lyrics which they knew by heart, insanely cool), followed by The Only Torn-Up Boy, followed by Neighborhood Saints (where we taught everyone the chorus vocals because Louka got food poisoning the day before and was in the E.R. as the show was happening), followed by Garden of the Ashes (where Gabe Valle let his violin sing underneath those string chords), followed by Mourn (featuring Regina Zaremba), followed by Sail Up The Sun (where the whole room sang along), followed by Fingerprints (I whipped out my acoustic guitar and Andres Vahos featured on drums, a new one-time addition to the set for this show), followed by Holes In Our Stories, followed by The Glory Years, plus a special request encore of Keep Your Friends Close for some fans who drove a long way to the show…and lastly, of course, The Window Seat with a “grand larceny you stole my damn heart from me” chant.

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

I haven’t ever been gone, but there’s no other way to put it besides that it feels really, really good to be back.

This show reminded me of so many mini realizations that I have again and again when I perform live: it’s powerful to get people together in a room with a giant common thread (especially when we all sing along, very loudly), I want to get out there and play A MILLION more shows everywhere and anywhere possible, I want to continue bringing the tour book to every show that I do so that it can be signed and kept up for the sake of posterity, and that I really appreciate my friends, my fans, and everybody who made this release show and this album possible.

I know I wasn’t as present as I should have been with releasing new music and playing new shows over the last few years. Now that we’re here, I’ll leave you with this:

I haven’t ever been gone, but there’s no other way to put it besides that it feels really, really good to be back.

Come see me in the midwest (and a few other places) supporting Ceschi in April!
4/6 | Brooklyn, NY
4/13 | - Minneapolis, MN
4/14 | Chicago, IL
5/2 | LA (TBA)
5/15 | Philly

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione



-Photos by Patrick Capriglione
-Official Recap video by Liz Maney
-Film photos by Tom Flynn

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

Photo by Patrick Capriglione

The official recap video by Liz Maney. I think this shows the energy of the room close to how I remember it.

And here’s a slideshow of some beautiful film photos, taken and developed by Tom Flynn who has been with me from the very beginning.

Let’s start with this one:

The album is about to drop.

So much happening the last few days.

‘Holes In Our Stories’ is dropping in about a week and a half at this point. Starting to feel very real.

A listener named Savannah got a tattoo of The Book Report lyrics which I hand wrote out for her. Feels like the highest honor I could possibly think of. Here’s a photo of the finished (and still healing) version:

Dylan Owen Book Report Tattoo

Then my Holes In Our Stories CDs arrived in the mail!!! The first shipment. Check out how they came out:

Dylan Owen Holes In Our Stories CDs
Dylan Owen Holes In Our Stories CDs
Dylan Owen Holes In Our Stories CDs

I also released this one-take live performance video of The Glory Years mixed with the Holes In Our Stories outro refrain. Check it out. Huuuuuge shoutout to Colton Williams who filmed and recorded this, and Gabe Valle who killed it on violin & Nate Sander who killed it on guitar. We did it on a rooftop, because it felt fitting for the emotion of the chorus of The Glory Years.

11 days until Holes In Our Stories. My first full length album in 9 years. How is that real?

Let’s go.

I'll grow my hair out, and I won't cut my album short | ghostwrite freestyle

People ask me why I’d make a full length album nowadays. Here’s what I have to say:


When I wake up the morning and I feel like I’ve been sleeping for like most of my adult life

All I really do in my music is talk about my ghosts and demons I don’t need Quentin Miller for me to ghost write

I always told myself I’d get over you and move on

But now that I didn’t

Nothing is ever as monumental

As everything once was

When I finally got down

To the bottom of everything

There and was buried in the bare minimum plot twist

The plot thickens

And finally I can stop thinking

Of you.

And then my heart sinks with no ropes to roam home

And then the dark brings my old soul in so close

And then I start thinking I should talk slow cuz it’s a long road

And all I need is 3:16s to do you Stone Cold

All I need is

An empty parking lot metropolis

And a pair of broken headphones that I’ve been rocking with

A couple friends to back me up — you know how bad my posture is

This is how you make a career, you damn hobbyists

Everybody’s asking “Dylan, what’d you make an album for?”

Thirteen tracks, man that’s thirteen tracks too long

I’ll grow my hair out and I won’t cut my album short

Show me one soundcloud rapper I can’t outperform

I would never let my twenties end without a roar

That’s what I made this album for.

Shoutout to Colton Williams who is insanely talented and filmed this in my apartment on a hot summer day in NYC. Shoutout to Nate Sander who you hear on the trumpet and Gabe Valle who you hear on the acoustic guitar. These guys are going to be touring with me in the spring time once Holes In Our Stories drops! March 1st…it all starts.

'Fingerprints' is out now!

My new single, Fingerprints, is out now. Listen on Spotify and Apple Music and share with your friends:

Inspired by the time it took to heal the crime scene of my first broken heart.

I hope you love the song.

Much love,


Written and performed by Dylan Owen
Co-produced by Skinny Atlas, Devin Arne
Music by Dylan Owen, Skinny Atlas, Devin Arne
Acoustic guitar played by Devin Arne
Live bass played by Nate Sander
Electric guitar played by Nate Sander
Additional live drums played by Nate Sander
Lead background vocals by Regina Zaremba
Background vocals by Andrew Arne, Skinny Atlas, Chloe Borthwick, Conor Burnett, Andrew Laskaris, Beth Oldis, Gabe Valle, Chelsea Wertheim, Regina Zaremba
Recorded at Sweet Sounds NYC
Additional recording by Tommy McCormick at Lovesound Studios in Walden, NY
Mixed by Billy Centenaro
Mastered by Chris Gehringer

Fingerprints will be track 7 of 13 on Holes In Our Stories.


Huge announcement: Holes In Our Stories drops March 1st. Official album trailer is here and you can preorder the album now.

You can preorder & Spotify/Apple pre-save the album, and read the opening foreword, on That’s a new site we built to be the homebase for Holes In Our Stories over the lifetime of this album and to make it easy to preorder and pre-save.

This album marks my first time on vinyl. Marks my first time publishing a book to go with an album (and ever in my life). Marks by a long shot the most thought-out the process of putting an album together and releasing one has ever been for me, from the metaphors throughout it connecting, to the imagery used in every video and the official album artwork having as much meaning and personal symbolism as I could possibly imagine.

You can view all of the new album merchandise and preorder everything on, and I’ll ship it to you right around release day. I’m going to drive the post office workers nuts just like I did with there’s more to life…so, let’s give em hell. If you’ve been following along the last few years, you know I’ve been working on all of this stuff for forever now. Worked crazy hard on the merch items to make it possible to have pieces available that mean a lot to me, and that I know will give this album the perfect picture in your mind.

I want to give a quick thank you to everyone who helped make the merch possible: Tom Flynn, Fake Four Inc., Regina Zaremba, Brian Petchers, Pat Capriglione, my friends for posing in the new Holes In Our Stories collection hoodies and shirts, and my mom and grandma for doing the lighting behind the scenes in our living room (not kidding). I’ll probably do a separate post exclusively about the clothing at some point later on. If you have any merch ideas you’d like but don’t see, let me know and I will try to add them over the next couple months.

Here’s the official tracklisting of the album:

  1. Break Some Ice

  2. Creases

  3. Garden of the Ashes (GOTA II)

  4. Mourn (feat. Chanele McGuinness & Regina Zaremba)

  5. Neighborhood Saints (feat. Louka)

  6. A Quarter Century

  7. Fingerprints

  8. Andrew Rose

  9. Wrinkles (feat. Regina Zaremba)

  10. The Only Torn-Up Boy in New York

  11. Bones and Ribs (feat. Aidan Cooper)

  12. Ending Credits

  13. Holes In Our Stories

In the meantime, as we get ready for March 1st, there’s going to be a lot happening: I’ll be releasing a new video almost every single week, with all sorts of things, there’s a new single coming in January (the song “Fingerprints”), and I’m actually working on booking a tour behind the scenes to perform in some cities I have not made it to yet.

So there’s hopefully a lot to look forward to. I feel like I suddenly have a million announcements to make. I’ll also be in and out of the studio of course, as always, working on more music for the future so that this excitement can be nonstop from now on.

my first time on vinyl. real life?

my first time on vinyl. real life?

Here’s how you can help with the album:

  1. Click ‘pre-save’ on Spotify or Apple Music, whatever you prefer to use, at this link: That makes sure it notifies you on release day.

  2. Preorder a hardcopy on vinyl or CD, or grab a book, shirt, or hoodie, so I have something sweet to send you in March:

  3. Get pumped for “Fingerprints” coming in January!!! I’ll probably have a 2nd pre-save link for this song. We’ve gotta get really hyped about it, and spread the word massively about that single once it drops to make sure everyone hears it. And by everyone…I mean everybody in the entire world.

  4. Wear one of the DO wristbands out and about and let everybody know what it is when they ask. I wear “holes in our stories” and my kyfc one 24/7.

    Much love to all of you who read this blog and who are excited about the album. My first full-length since 2010. You know we’ve gotta do it big.

New Beginnings/Old Friends, Album Update, & The Book Report

New freestyle. We filmed this off to the side on the set of the Fingerprints music video (that song and video are coming up next). I’ve thought a lot about this concept, new beginnings old friends. It’ll surely be making an appearance on the new album in some form. I find myself still trying to start things over with people in my life who are long gone. I find myself waiting around, hoping to extract more than there is out of relationships that have fossilized years ago. But maybe it’s never too late to search for new beginnings with old friends.

Much love and hope you dig this.

New beginnings, old friends.
Directed by Brian Petchers.
Album on the way.
Andres Vahos on percussion
Gabe Valle on mandolin
Me on vocals and guitar

I’ve been at my desk lately, tying up the remainder of the album which has been my lifeblood project since 2015. At this point it is truthfully right around the corner. Sometimes I actively take time away from listening to these tracks and then I let them hit me again, from start to finish, and I get fresh perspective on the whole story and on what I originally set out to document. It’s always important to remember that and to reflect on how far you’ve come since your past. We’ve been in the mastering phase the last couple weeks and things are pretty much wrapped up. I guess at this point I’m just still getting organized in my head. I posted a short teaser clip of a song on my instagram. That’s going to be called The Only Torn-Up Boy in New York. I’m really excited about that one.

I’ve also been working on the physical copies — the design, the packaging, lots of little things that end up taking a whole day or two or three that I would never expect and could never predict. Like scanning photos, playing with them on the computer, creating the album art, getting help from Tom Flynn who can apply his sick design skills to it all. Locking down the last few videos that will capture what these songs mean to me, both literally and in a more emotional sense. Going through edits and exports.

To mark the (just about) end of the album creation phase, I wanted to share some behind the scenes snapshots from the last couple of years. Me when I first moved into my apartment, stumbling to find myself while living on my own. Me the day before shooting Break Some Ice exploring filming locations in the lower east side along the river. Me discovering a new studio I love for recording vocals in NYC. Me traveling, going to shows with my friends, visiting Ithaca NY, sending off another birthday. Me chipping away at the mountain that is about to be finalized into its adult form of 13 songs very dear to my heart…

So, scroll through these pictures of days spent in and out of the studio. This is a little invite into what my life has been the last few years and what my memories will be looking back on this time:

Goes without saying that I’m dying to officially announce this album, tell you all about it, and then get this in your hands!!!!

Lastly, The Book Report hit 1 million plays on Spotify. That’s a pretty big milestone for me. I think of The Book Report largely as my first song ever…so I find that completely wild. Until the day I die I will never forget writing that song in the bedroom at my mom’s house and finally letting that piano riff become something. I’ve heard from a lot of strangers about The Book Report and how they relate. Maybe we all relate to growing up in that way, on some level. Standing on top of our own respective suicide hills and looking out over a world filled with sorrow, confusion, very wrinkled paper towns, but still being able to see a future to come out there, a future I still believe can be endlessly forgiving of all of us.

We’ve all got higher hills to climb, regardless of our depths.

Thanks for playing this song through the years and giving its meaning a life outside of my small bedroom in that tiny upstate New York town.

Much love and I’ll be back with some good news…

photo by Tom Flynn:

The Only Living Boy in NY. New freestyle!

New video. The Only Living Boy in NY verse. I’ve sat on this verse for a while, trying to fit it into songs here and there, until eventually landing on loving it as an acapella just like this. Might make it into a song eventually.

Living in the city and facing what it means to be truly independent, both in a personal sense and in the sense of my music, has taught me a lot. They say New York changes you. Does wherever you live turn you into someone different than your hometown originally intended?

Hope you like the video. A lot more like this coming. Don’t want to keep you waiting for The Album much longer.

Directed by Brian Petchers, as usual. Shot in the freezing cold in the lower east side, NYC.


It’s downpouring
Bad thinking
On our porches
And glass ceilings
We all have issues
How come it’s
That I’m the last living boy here in New York and I’m proud of it
Paramount fears here to tear us down
Shouldn’t plan it out, damaged now, damnit, how could he
The copper train bandits and abandoned house rookies
I was cutting finger holes in my hand me down hoodies
Trying to feel something real
Something here
Something relevant
My fingertips grow cold, I give em hell again
No a-team man I’m the
Safe sea sailor stuck
No break beat battler,
No JD Salinger
No scraped clean calendar
The same grey jean Main Street traveler who’s stuck waist deep down like the
Tragic heroes that they all sold us
Watching TV with my mom from the floor of our dark ocean
Start over, heartbroken
Part old soul whispering with city park old soldiers
Part winter frozen
Trying to find footing where the road slips
Part throwing roses
Part held by clothespins
Part perfect family, part broken home kid
I don’t call for help these days nobody notices
Part eagle scout, part hopeless
I’m trying to part ways with the parts of me it’s hard to be alone with
Cuz it’s hard being alone when you’re the only living boy in New York.

"Mourn" live video is out now!

"Mourn" live is out now. Directed by Brian Petchers. I wrote this song with just a keyboard and my voice alone in my room, as I do with many of my songs, so I wanted to film a version playing it in a similar unplugged way. Brought a few friends who helped make it sound way more beautiful. Shoutout to Astoria Soundworks where we filmed this. Fully live audio captured from a one-take recording.

"Mourn" is out now. Listen everywhere:

Dylan Owen on vocals and keyboard
Chanele McGuinness on vocals
Regina Zaremba on vocals
Gabe Valle on violin
Nate Sander on acoustic guitar and trumpet
Live recording, engineering, and mixing by Enrique Mancia
Mastered by Skinny Atlas
Directed and edited by Brian Petchers

It's crowded in heaven tonight.

"Mourn" is out now. Listen on YoutubeSpotifyApple MusicSoundcloud.

When we come home, they'll name the streets after us.

For my grandpa John, that really was the case. 

Dylan Owen John Spear Way

If you ever want to see it in person, drive through Washingtonville, New York, stop at Betty's Country Kitchen, honk your horn at the blue CYO gym as you pass'll see his street sign right on main street on Route 208. It all looks pretty similar to when I used to be a kid there, dressing up in wizard capes in my cousins' basement, immortalized somewhere on home video tapes that I may never see.

There have only been a few times in my life where I wrote a line without knowing what it means and then a few years later, it ended up becoming true. When we come home they'll name the streets after us became that way. But I didn't get lucky with that one, it's because of my grandfather's once-in-a-generation dedication to the community in which he lived.

He was king of his town, a town called Washingtonville. And nothing could stop him from moving about town, not even cancer.

When we got the news, we didn't know how long to expect him to be around. But he stayed, surprised us all, fought for a while. Fought from a hospital bed and fought from a homemade hospital bed. He was deeply religious, and he of all people didn't have to give his mortality a run for its money, but he was stubborn, ritualistic, not one for giving up. He was a lot to look up to. And he seemed to think his work here wasn't done yet.

That life work was made up of a lot of things. He ran our family's printing business, Spear Printing Co., and therefore printing is embedded in so many of my childhood memories. The smell of the print shop. The countless whistling, loud machines, the dusty stacks of different sized paper, the maze of rooms and wood wall paneling...the ringing phones. It's a smell and environment you don't forget, especially when you first experience it as a kid. Everyone in our family helped out at "the Shop" at one time or another. Printing was my grandpa's career but also a way he could give back. He printed my first ever business cards for me as an "artist" when I used to sketch the same four characters again and again in the fourth grade. It was magic to see my name on a business card alongside my drawings that birthday. Years later he would be there for me when I released my first music. He printed the cover of A Living Inverse, and then a year later printed the entire album booklet for How To Stay Young. He would measure things out with scientific precision, doing machine-like math of slicing measurements in his head, often talking out loud to himself...these moments in the print shop quite literally helped bring my music into reality.

His work also included being the founder and director of the local CYO basketball program where he provided so many kids with the means to play basketball, serving as editor and publisher of the Orange County newspaper, coaching basketball and traveling with his teams until his last moments, and attending daily Mass as an altar server at the local church, all while contributing to the town planning board as a fifty-year a whole lot more.

John Spear by Dominick Fiorille

But there's a way the world sees John Spear, and then there's a way that I see my grandpa.

When I was living at home and when my grandpa was sick, I was going through a lot that I wasn't aware of at the time. Eighteen days after There's More To Life came out, my grandpa passed.

It rained so hard afterward that it seemed to suggest heaven was opening up to welcome a new member, and shaking up the clouds by doing so. Or maybe, the weather was simply mourning with us. Either way it was fitting, our family spirit was somber, but there was also a lot of work to do. Writing the perfect eulogy with my uncle, planning the luncheon for after the funeral mass, making sure the wake would be able to fit everyone who would come (no joke, thousands of people) to memorialize John. I shook almost all of their hands. So many of them had no idea who I was, and probably never will, and though they had brilliant and heartwarming memories of John, they didn't have memories of him as a grandparent.

I often feel like we don't give ourselves time to mourn.

There are a lot of things that happen that people don't talk about when somebody dies. The energy and work that goes into planning a funeral, writing a eulogy heavy enough to hold up to the life it honors, the nuances of the family members' relationships to each other, who knew the deceased the most and who deserves to do what. It makes me think: is it ever possible to memorialize someone fully, completely, and truly? What about who that person was when they were alone in front of the mirror on their sunlit mornings, filled with optimism? What about the person they may have aspired to be but never became, a projection of the person we loved that we never got to witness?

Someone in my ex-girlfriend's family had cancer, which I've hinted at in some of my songs, and I always knew when we were together that I could never fully understand what they were going through. The pain it causes when someone you love is bedridden day after day, the way it feels to constantly visit the hospital, the nuance of every day...administering medicine, the confusion of different doctors' opinions. When someone you love is sick you're constantly searching for the truth. You search for a cure in a big sense, but you also search for a way to cure every day that brings another tidal wave of pain.

Years later, just like how my lyrics about renaming the streets would become true, this circular grief would also become I became entrenched in the experience of one family member having cancer, and then watched it turn into two. And at last, finally, I felt like I understood.

John Spear Coach

Our grandparents are our couriers of memories. 

They tell us stories, and we know in the moment that someday they won't be with us anymore, and it will be up to us to remember those stories and store them in our heads to keep them alive for our children someday...yet somehow it's still hard to listen, still hard to ask the right questions and understand the details of our grandparents' lives, hard to ever understand who their first loves were, hard to ever know what is hiding deep down in their memories...

So instead, we get some little things, their idiosyncrasies, the things that stick with us for one reason or another, perhaps because they are the things that relate to us individually the most. My grandpa always mixed orange juice and cranberry juice with particular proportions that felt perfect to him, and I've since taken up the trade; he contributed to my music by printing my album covers and booklets; he lived his life as a shining example of how to give back to a community, which I admire and aspire to do; he drove me to the airport in an unforgettable race down the highway to fly to visit Annie for the first time, so he helped me fall in love; and he was a printer who worked with ink for his entire life, by writing it, by printing it, by sacrificing himself for it just as I plan to do with mine.

So rest in peace to my grandpa, and rest in peace to all of our grandparents. May we appreciate them while they're with us. Hear their stories, remain in awe of their idiosyncrasies. If I never got time to mourn, writing this is my attempt at closure. Releasing this song is my attempt at sharing what I've been through and also my personal tribute to the first grandparent I am lucky enough to miss.

I'd like to leave you with two things:

This article:
John Spear will Always Have His Way in Washingtonville:

And the original demo from which I made "Mourn." I wouldn't normally share something like this, but I want this to exist permanently somewhere, and what better place?

I hope you like it.

May all our heroes find their restless place in the sky.

I swear upon this family blanket
I swear upon my cracking skin
That this winter’s just a habit
I’m slowly getting out of it

My Grandpa’s crying over breakfast
He says this meal just doesn’t fit
I can’t stomach my food either
The weather must have made me sick

We don’t have many things in common
But tonight we’ve gotta
Don’t leave anything forgotten
It's all we do

I’m giving up my gold
I’m selling all my shit
I’d rather have nothing than grow up someday and lose everything
I’m giving up my gold
I’m selling all my shit
I’d rather have nothing than grow up someday and lose everything
I’m giving up my gold
I’m selling all my shit
I’d rather have nothing than grow up someday and lose everything

I know it’s cloudy in heaven tonight
But will you let my Grandpa in?
I know it’s cloudy in heaven tonight
But will you let my Grandpa in?
I know it’s cloudy in heaven tonight
But will you let my Grandpa in?
I know it’s crowded in heaven tonight
But will you let my Grandpa in?

break some ice, kid.

Here goes nothing.

Photo by Liz Maney

Photo by Liz Maney

Answering an email from a stranger. To hopping on a phone call. To growing into friends. To getting coffee in the Chelsea area of Manhattan at a small, nostalgia-filled eatery that I can't remember the name of. But I remember the stained-glass coated table and most of all, I remember the idea: turning my music into a short film.

These conversations with a young director named Brian Petchers were the beginning of break some ice. But really, the making of it started much earlier, when I took a break from music publicly for a while unintentionally, when I put the microphone down to rest and started to feel most comfortable hiding my head, keeping my thoughts secret and safe on the pages of my notebook...which day by day were getting filled less and less. I went into a regretful stage of hibernation, of letting life pass me by, and of not giving myself the chance to move forward. And I regretted it even as it was happening. Has that ever happened to you?

Breaking through the ice began for me when I would think about what I wanted to say next in my music. I wanted to put all of the thoughts from this lifeless period, from these stagnant years, from my own self-criticism, from my own failure to launch during young adulthood and intangible fear of the world into one single thesis statement. I wanted to make a grand overture that could encompass everything I'd attempt to talk about in my future songs - death, love, how to heal heartbreak, being lost for what feels like forever in your twenties, looking at my childhood through the eyes of a kid the way I remember it and then again through the eyes of myself now. And a lot more. The things I want for the future and some of the things that I know I have to accept.

At the bottom, and the beginning, of those emotions, is where break some ice began.

Where it ended up is what makes me look back and feel a little bit of a knot in my throat. A good knot. A proud, but bittersweet one. I'm proud I took the things that were troubling me and turned them into something I love and that has so much meaning for me, but it is hard to not look back on the quietest years of my twenties in frustration. It's hard to not want to yell backwards into the void, to shout at the regret that started it all. To turn the nothingness into noise.

Photo by Liz Maney

Photo by Liz Maney

So let's dive into what that nothingness was. It's probably time I share it with somebody: I waited for years for love. A perfect, superstitious love that I salute to now as something that got the best of me and that isn't coming back. I also waited years to make sense of things everyone else seemed to understand, but I never got clarity on while they were happening. Death is one of those things for me, with the passing of a close family member for the first time taking me by surprise. The strange, tropical grief season where it always rained and we set up funeral services, where I shook a few thousand hands at a packed wake, where I reminded a lot of distant relatives of my name and which son I am. The one that does music. I'll talk more about this in a few weeks. But I also waited for music itself, protesting against any kind of change, protesting any story I might want to tell, out of the fear that talking about something means it is finished for good, or it is finally complete. Not perfectionism but something different, something more like obsession. My songs become real when I share them with the world. And some of them I didn't want to be real, I didn't want those stories to potentially be over.

So my writer's block grew, from a symptom to a disorder, from a sticky note above my desk to new wallpaper that covered my entire house, the house of most of my childhood, until I had to pack up my things and leave for a new start. And so I started all over, in an apartment in New York City.

I needed a new song that could encompass the journey into and out of these emotions, these built-up concepts that had become barriers for me, in order for me to break out of them.

That song idea started with wanting to write an overture for the album, and it eventually became the short film that Brian Petchers turned it into today.

The process of making the video itself became my vehicle for getting out there and living. From drafting up ideas over email, long and inspired stream-of-consciousness style phone calls between Brian and I, setting up schedules for the endless list of friends and actors involved in the various scenes, plotting all of the invisible logistics in great detail with Regina, finding a way for a door to open on to a beach the week of the was good work, good stress, and a really fulfilling couple of months. Bringing the video to life helped wake me up and brought me back to life a bit, too.

I think it's my proudest single piece of work, all things considered, in terms of something I can press play on and feel like it explains who I am pretty wholeheartedly, or that it can serve as the film version of the movie I've been playing in my head since I was a young kid. Where love with a soulmate exists in its own universe, undisturbed, as purple and as lush as the bright lights of memory. Where everybody lives to an old age. Where everyone's life is cinematic, is unbroken, where everything makes a little more sense.

A lot of times when I'm trying to fall asleep at night...I picture myself somewhere peaceful. At the base of a mountain. Trees blocking the sky. Tucked away beneath soil and leaves and roots, that like grandparents' arms stretch out forever and are centuries old...

It's in that place where the Break Some Ice video exists for me.

So welcome to my world. I'm finally back, I've broken through a lot of things in order to be here, and I don't plan on getting so frozen up again. Where do we go from here, my friend?

My roaring twenties were quiet. This film is for anybody who has ever felt frozen in their life.
My little brothers

My little brothers

Me and Vlada Roslyakova in an abandoned gazebo somewhere near the beach in New York City...approximately 6AM after running on no sleep and right after shooting the beach scenes.

Me and Vlada Roslyakova in an abandoned gazebo somewhere near the beach in New York City...approximately 6AM after running on no sleep and right after shooting the beach scenes.

Me in The Paper Room. This was my home for about 6 months after we filmed the video. I didn't want it to be over.

Me in The Paper Room. This was my home for about 6 months after we filmed the video. I didn't want it to be over.

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Directed by Brian Petchers
Co-produced by Brian Petchers, Dylan Owen, and Regina Zaremba
Edited by Brian Petchers
Art Direction by Brian Petchers and Dylan Owen
Director of Photography Jack Shanahan
First AC Jeff Clanet
2nd AC Phillip Laskaris
Drone operation by Vincent Rappa
VFX by Rafatoon
Hair & Makeup by Sam Granados
Production Assistant and on set photography by Liz Maney
Production Assistant RJ Wolak Frank
Production Assistant David Wong
Production Assistant Dominique Cortesiano

Starring: Vlada Roslyakova Dylan Owen Les Ferguson Gabe & Noah Owen Liz Lennon Tom Flynn Jessica Eve Kelly Mulvihill Javier Sanchez Julia Eckley Robert Barnes Liz Maney Tara Kane Conor Burnett Skinny Atlas Tommy McCormick Josh Angehr Jim Snyder Upgrade Tommy Owen Conor Burnett Jeff Kleinberger Josh Cseh Zaid Jangda Ali Malik Adam Malik Amaar Malik Asad Chowdhury Sameer Al-Tariq Tarek Sobhy Mike Ruckert

Deepest thank you and shoutouts to: Mom, Dad & E, Tom Flynn, Lori Petchers & Joe Plotkin, Mike Spear, Beth Oldis, Jeff Kleinberger, Tommy McCormick, Goshen Central Schools Transportation Department, Mary Spear & Spear Printing Co

Written and performed by Dylan Owen
Produced by Skinny Atlas
Mixed by Jason Moss
Mastered by Chris Gehringer
Recorded in Dylan's apartment


Here are a ton of beautiful behind-the-scenes photos by Liz Maney that capture the incredible (and endless) team of creative people who put this together.