The Odessa Record -

Sean Owsley, Blue Mustangs play Spring Fling gig

 

--Courtesy photos.

Sean Owsley, lead singer of the Blue Mustangs, with The Record's reporter Linda Goodman.

It's the morning of Saturday, April 29, of Spring Fling in Odessa, and I'm getting ready to follow through on a commitment I made just a few days before. I am meeting Sean Owsley, lead singer of the Blue Mustangs band and the morning news anchor for KHQ-6 news in Spokane to conduct my first solo interview. I'm not nervous, which was exactly what I had hoped for. The main reason I chose him for my first interview is that he seemed like a very down-to-earth person. I had been irrationally nervous, but for some reason I felt I would be less embarrassed if I screwed up the interview with him rather than with anyone else.

We met in the empty lot on First Ave. between the dental clinic and the auto parts store, where his band The Blue Mustangs would be performing for the Odessa Car & Bike Show during Spring Fling. When I asked him whether he wanted to sit on a bench or move to The Odessa Record's office where it might be quieter, he pointed toward the back of the lot to a long bench sitting under a striped canopy, then to his foot (sporting a walking boot) and said, "It's hard for me to walk." I laughed and pointed to my cervical collar saying "I understand completely."

Smiling as we walked to the canopy, Sean looked at me and said, "So I hear you're friends with someone I hold dear to my heart." At the same time, we both say the name "Sara," a mutual friend we had both known since high school (he in Seattle, I in Ephrata). With the ice broken, he sat down and we talked as if we'd known each other for 20 years and were just catching up.

Born in Spokane, Owsley moved to Seattle at the age of seven but returned to Spokane frequently due to the fact that his dad Gary Owsley was in radio (KDRK, KAQQ.)

After deciding that journalism was the career direction he wished to take, Owsley graduated from Eastern Washington University with a degree in broadcast journalism and took a job with KHQ in 1993.

In 1999, Owsley left KHQ and Washington state entirely to take an anchor job in Knoxville, Tenn., only to return to both Washington and KHQ in 2002.

Although they worked in different mediums, the elder Owsley may have influenced his son's choice of a career in journalism. But Sean Owsley felt televison was a better fit for him than radio. When I asked him if journalism was his first career choice, he nodded and replied, "Definitely. It was definitely my first choice." I then prompted, "Journalist first or musician first?" His reply, "Oh journalist. No doubt about it. Definitely journalist."

Playing by ear, he picked up the guitar at a young age and as a teenager started once-a-week lessons with his dad. He joined his first band at about age 26. When I told him I was surprised he hadn't joined a band before that, he said, "Well it's really hard for everyone's personalities to..." and he made a gesture with his hands to indicate putting two pieces together. Laughing, I said, "Click? I've heard that can be the hardest part." Motioning toward his band-mates, Owsley said, "It can be, but like these guys, we've been together two years and no problems. It just works."

Band members Bill Bozly on guitar, Darrin Truitt on bass guitar, Owsley, Kevin O'Reilly on keyboard and Shane Chamberlin on drums (not pictured). In front, local resident Joey Silva dances and does his impersonation of Elvis.

In his downtime, Owsley is a low-key kind of guy who prefers spending time at home with son Ryan (15), listening to music (any music that is "authentic") or running. "Of course, right now I can't," Owsley laughed, lifting his leg to show off his walking boot, "...'cause I have all the pins, rods and plates." "What did you do?" I asked. "Running!" he said. "I had the other foot done last year."

It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday, and the smiles on everyone's faces provided the perfect backdrop for Spring Fling and The Odessa Car & Bike Show. The only thing that might have made the day more perfect was if it had been a little less breezy. Then again, if that were to happen, this wouldn't be Odessa.

In the end, I'm glad I followed my instincts. I came out ahead by making a new friend.

The Record's reporter Linda Goodman is recovering from neck surgery but felt well enough to contribute the results of her interview with Sean Owsley.

 

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