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Claire Bowen and Brandon Young are an incredible vocal duo and 2 of the sweetest, most authentic people you’ll ever meet. Claire is an actress best known for her role in the hit tv show Nashville as Scarlett O’Conner and Brandon is an accomplished Nashville musician and singer who was formerly part of John Hiatt’s trio. Almost dying of cancer as a young child in her home country of Australia has given Claire a deep empathy that only tragedy can create in someone. They are both open and honest about major struggles and and difficult subjects on this podcast. Watch the show then check out their music. They both sing like angels and you know I love angels. - Brad
With haunting and ethereal songs that masterfully delve into the depths of ferocious love, heartbreaking loss and steadfast hope, the debut album, Dangerous Love, by new duo Bowen Young unveils a unique style of music the couple has dubbed “Cinematic Americana.”
Bowen Young’s timeless debut record created by Clare Bowen and husband Brandon Robert Young is a multi-sensory feast. The music, produced by Americana songwriter / producer Sean McConnell, invokes themes painted by the duo’s powerfully authentic lyrics and hypnotic harmonies
“We wanted to make music that conjures a visceral response from people,” says Clare. “To invoke imagination.” Brandon adds, “It has its roots in country music, folk music, and the more up-tempo moments lend themselves to rock ‘n roll. We wanted sweeping emotion, the rise and fall of tiny intimate moments, alongside bombastic sound. We set out with that as our North Star.”
With songs they wrote including “Water to Wine,” “Skeletons” and “Dangerous Love,” the duo explores the light and dark that exists in the world. “It’s about not being afraid of the dark, but rather the ability to embrace it, to walk through it. The light cannot exist without darkness, and both are part of everyone’s story,” Clare says. They had been writing songs together, but the right sound had eluded them until they had a Zoom songwriting session with Sean, and quickly realized they had found the missing creative piece. “We wrote ‘Water to Wine’ and felt like family right away,” says Brandon. “Finding true love is a miracle, and we managed to capture it in a song that had the sound we’d been searching for.”
They co-wrote “Skeletons” with Amie Miriello, who offered the line, “Your skeletons don’t scare me.” Says Brandon, “We all have our own version of the past, heartbreak and demons. When you find your person, you love them for all of who they are.”
“Dangerous Love”, the eerie ballad from which the album takes its name, was written two days after an assailant broke into the couple’s home, and attempted to beat down their bedroom door to get to them. Thankfully, the police arrived seconds before the door gave way. The terrifying event left the duo reeling.
They arrived at the writing session with Sean, exhausted both emotionally and physically. “We refused to let it take another day of joy from us,” Clare says. “So we all sat there for a couple of hours talking, just glad to be alive.”
A sense of gratitude is one of the things the two have in common. Clare, the charismatic actress who played Scarlett O’Connor on the popular show Nashville, is known as a ray of sunshine around the world. She is an empath who leads with her heart, able to communicate and translate emotions whether on stage or screen.
Born in rural Australia, she moved to Music City in 2012 for the Nashville role and immediately earned respect from the city’s musical leaders. She has performed with artists such as Vince Gill, Zac Brown Band, and worked alongside Grammy Award winning producers/songwriters T-Bone Burnett and Buddy Miller, who became her mentors. She released an eponymous album and performed with Brandon before sold-out crowds in the US, UK, Germany and Australia. The pair also earned a coveted spot on Sugarland’s popular “Still the Same” tour and toured live with the Nashville cast, selling out London’s O2 Arena.
Alongside the glittering spotlight, Clare is no stranger to the darker, more frightening side of the human experience. “The stakes don’t get higher than life or death,” she says.
A pediatric cancer survivor, she was given just two weeks to live upon receiving a shocking cancer diagnosis at age four. With the strength of her family behind her, she survived a grueling, experimental chemotherapy regimen that was said to be her only hope. “I don’t know why I lived when so many other children didn’t get to grow up. I just know I have to put as much good in the world as I can while I’m still in it.”
Brandon, who began singing at age five under the gentle guidance of his mother, had a vastly different path to Nashville. In 2000, he moved from Enfield, CT, to Music City, where he taught himself to play guitar. He worked as a courier during the day and spent his nights filling empty composition books with song after song. He spent a decade touring with music legend John Hiatt, first as percussionist and background vocalist and eventually becoming one third of The John Hiatt Trio. He worked on three of the famed artist’s albums, the last of which was nominated for a Grammy.
Brandon has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning artists Emmylou Harris, Colin Linden, and Mikky Ekko. Young was also invited by John Carter Cash to finish one of his father’s unpublished works for Johnny Cash Forever Words. Brandon’s music has been heard in shows such as Shameless, A Million Little Things, and Nashville. It was serendipity that brought Bowen Young together in 2013, when Brandon was a last-minute replacement for Clare’s no-show duet partner for her first solo set at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. They immediately discovered they had wonderful chemistry both onstage and off. Brandon proposed to Clare at the Ryman Auditorium during the couple’s Grand Ole Opry set in 2015. They were married by John Carter Cash at the Cash Cabin in 2017.
“The first tour we went out on as Bowen Young was my favorite tour ever. Since meeting Brandon, my ultimate musical goal had been for he and I to be a duo..” remembers Clare. “I was standing in the wing, waiting to go out for our first show, when I realized that for the very first time, I was about to walk onstage without the loneliness I had felt for so long, center stage by myself. Everything finally felt right. The spotlight can be such fun, but nothing beats standing in it with the love of my life.”