SUNDANCE, Utah – On the final weekend of the Sundance Film Festival, husband and wife Brandon Robert Young and Clare Bowen‘s new music endeavor, BOWEN * YOUNG, captivated the audience at Sundance resort’s intimate Rehearsal Hall venue.
The Nashville locals gave attendees a preview of the emotional, raw, and tender songs from their upcoming debut album, Dangerous Love. Playing acoustic songwriters in the rounds, BOWEN * YOUNG brought a taste of Nashville’s Blue Bird Café culture to Sundance as they alternated performances with Amie Miriello and John Eddie.
Throughout the show, BOWEN * YOUNG’s fiery, heartfelt lyrics reflect the couple’s serendipitous meeting, nearly instant mutual love, and trauma overcome together.
In 2013 Young filled in for Bowen’s duet partner, who dropped hours before her first solo set at the Bridgestone Arena. “We became friends instantly,” Bowen said.
Young added, “We both were committed to trying to be professional about the whole thing. But songwriting is such an intimate exercise, being vulnerable with someone else and telling intimate stories. So we got to know each other very quickly.”
About a year after their initial duet, Young proposed to Bowen at the Ryman Auditorium during their first Grand Ole Opry performance. “We got married in 2017, and it was the best,” Bowen gushes.
During the first several years of their marriage, Young and Bowen pursued prosperous individual careers in music and television. Then, an unfortunate and horrific event was the catalyst that led to joining their vocations and launching BOWEN * YOUNG.
At the Sundance Blue Bird Café performance, Bowen evokes tears from the audience as she retells the chilling story of a man entering their home and trying to break down their bedroom door. During the eleven minutes that the couple waited for the police to arrive, they faced the terrifying prospect of losing each other.
“The break-in was a life-changing experience,” Bowen said. “When I saw the door knob start to rattle… It changed things. There was a benevolence that was gone in the world.”
A few dozen hours later, still shaken, they dragged themselves to a meeting with their friend and producer, Sean McConnell. Crying and talking led to unexpectedly writing a song that depicted their experience, reaffirmed their dedication to one another, and initiated BOWEN * YOUNG.
“We wrote ‘Dangerous Love‘ in 45 minutes. It came out fast and turned out to be my favorite song on the record. A song that otherwise could not have been written,” Young said.
“Dangerous Love,” like the other songs on their soon-to-be-released album, reflects their commitment to vulnerability as artists and lovers.
“Whenever we sing, we hope we are giving someone respite from what they are feeling… Or help somebody say to somebody else, ‘I love you,” Bowen said. “It comes from a complete place of honesty because we love the s**t out of each other.”
The BOWEN * YOUNG performance at Sundance’s Blue Bird Café has a special significance for the artists. Bowen performed at Sundance six years ago when promoting her solo album, and at the time felt an emptiness.
“I remember this beautiful trip to Sundance, and the entire time thinking something was not right. It was that we weren’t an official band… So getting to come back to Sundance as BOWEN * YOUNG is a dream come true,” she said.
Plus, this Sundance round, the musical lovebirds shared the intimate songwriter’s culture from their hometown venue, the Blue Bird Café.
“The Nashville Bluebird writer’s round is something unique to Nashville… Very rarely is a concert three of four people sitting in a circle and telling the stories behind their songs,” Young said. “For us, it’s a great experience to take that to another city.”
The breathless audience at the Sundance Blue Bird Café cherished the experience also, reveling in two hours of courageous storytelling, tangible love, and raw music.