Lawd, give us this day our sexy nu-vintage soul, care of the smokin’ gorgeous St. Louis-bred crooner Brian Owens. A former Air Force staff sergeant who vocally and musically channels several alpha-male soul icons of yesteryear, Owens rocketed to national recognition after performance videos of his fiery Air National Guard band, Sidewinder, reached 2.5 million hits on YouTube—followed by a flurry of TV appearances, including Entertainment Tonight and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Last year, Owens released Moods and Messages distributed by Sony/BDG/Red, 10 songs of 1960s- and ’70s-inspired soul that balance passionate, romantic whimsy with a good dose of social commentary. A few songs, like “Troubled Man” and “Keep Movin’ On,” draw from Owens’s experience of returning from a tour of duty in Afghanistan and observing tour buddies duke it out with the job-strapped American economy. Moods and Messages is, at its best, a grits-n-gravy, Stax-inspired production that finds its greatest strength in Owens’s supple, earnest voice—whether he’s repping the tough-times blues or projecting jubilant gospel upliftment. 

Brian Owens’s latest video is a seamless, backdrop-shifting visual for his sultry bed-burner “Till Mornin’ Breaks,” which features his radiantly four-months-pregnant wife, Amanda. It’s an unusual casting choice for any R&B romeo’s video, but one that made sense for Owens because “every love song [I sing] is about my wife. She speaks good into my life. That’s the kind of woman she is.” Now ain’t grown-n-sexy love grand?

Learn more about this star-on-the-rise at his Reverbnation page, and follow him on Twitter @brianowenstv. — Sun Singleton

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