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by Andy Coleman (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
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Welsh singer joins Nell Bryden for UK tour
It has been quite a year for Welsh singer-songwriter Judith Owen.

Judith Owen, Ebb & Flow, Harry Shearer
Ebbing & Flowing: Judith Owen (pic: Sue Flood)

Following the release of her eighth album, Ebb & Flow, the completion of her own headline European tour and supporting Bryan Ferry on his latest UK tour, Judith Owen is now joining Nell Bryden for a series of November shows around Britain.

Judith will then return to the States, where she lives with her husband, actor Harry Shearer, for a string of pre-Christmas dates.

Judith's tour with Nell Bryden visits Birmingham Institute on November 10. For her support set she will be accompanied by legendary musician Leland Sklar who has played on many landmark albums, including Carole King's Tapestry, James Taylor's Sweet Baby James, Joni Mitchell's Blue and Jackson Browne's Running On Empty.

Performing songs from Ebb & Flow, the duo will recall the musical spirit of 1970s California.

Judith Owen, Ebb & Flow, Harry Shearer
Right note: Judith Owen (pic: Sue Flood)

"The 1970s troubadour music of Laurel Canyon was absolutely beautiful,'' Judith says. ''Their recordings were so magnificent. They were profoundly influential in my style and who I became as a singer songwriter."

Judith's recently released third single from Ebb & Flow, Train Out of Hollywood, is based on the singer's first experiences living in Los Angeles. It tells of the people she encountered and their "desperation for success"- something she says she can relate to.

Those days, however, are long gone. Now married to Harry Shearer of Spinal Tap and The Simpsons fame, Judith is looking forward to their traditional American Christmas Without Tears shows.

Harry explains: ''The show started as a party in our home to try to comfort Judith, a Welsh woman prone to melancholia, who could not stand the fact that Christmas in Southern California was about 78 degrees and sunny."

This became a charity event and performance in 2005 when they staged it to aid the people of New Orleans after Katrina.

Judith Owen, Ebb & Flow, Harry Shearer
Happy holidays: Judith Owen and Harry Shearer

This year they celebrate the 10th anniversary of Christmas Without Tears with a string of US December dates.

To make this year's shows extra special the duo are releasing a festive three-track, digital EP, The Best Things, on November 20, with sale proceeds to the Elton John Aids Foundation.

The first two tracks are Judith's holiday number, The Best Things, and the classic festive ballad (I'll Sing) Silent Night For You.

She says: "These two songs sum up Christmas for me in all its bitter sweetness. I miss the people who are gone and cherish the ones who remain. I have a good cry whilst dressing the tree and remain thankful for all that I have and all that I've known."

The third track, Too Many Notes, is Harry Shearer poking fun at the over-embellished, over-sung singers around a Christmas theme. Harry's take on all-star charity singles features Jane Lynch from Glee, London- based jazz vocalists Alice Russell and Ian Shaw, and 'Prince Of New Orleans' Davell Crawford.

"Every Christmas, it seems, there's at least one 'all-star' charity single, with singers competing with each other to embellish a simple seasonal song with Too Many Notes,'' Harry claims. ''I decided it was time for an all-star charity single that celebrated the art of seasonal over-singing.''

Judith Owen, Ebb & Flow, Harry Shearer
Judith Owen (pic: Sue Flood)

Nell Bryden/ Judith Owen 2015 UK tour dates:


6th: The Stables, Milton Keynes;
7th: Harborough Theatre, Leicester;
9th: The Globe, Cardiff;
10th: The Institute, Birmingham;
11th: The Komedia, Brighton;
13th: Met, Bury;
15th: The Fleece, Bristol.

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Why? Solid support from Judith Owen for headliner Nell Bryden
When: November 10, 2015
Phone: 0844 844 0444
Where: The Institute, Digbeth, Birmingham
Cost: 16.50 plus fees
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