Owen Riegling Set to Country Up the Stage at NV Music Hall

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THUNDER BAY – Entertainment – Got your cowboy boots on? Two-Step over to the NV Music Hall tonight and get set to kick up your heels.

Owen Riegling is hitting the stage tonight as part of the Bud Light tour.

Owen is the kind of artist so down to earth his boots are always dirty.

He’s a small town kid with his roots firmly planted in the songs he sings. There’s something organic about the way Owen does what he does. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what makes it so special but it’s even harder to ignore how fast it’s growing. Owen writes songs that connect because he’s connected. To the things and people and places that matter. That’s what roots do.

He stands on stage, voice like browned butter, songs both sweet and weighted, and he instantly makes new fans feel like old friends – connected by shared experience. He takes the right ingredients and handles them with care because he cares where they came from.

Owen’s from Mildmay, Ontario. Population 1200. A town of farmers and blue-collar workers. People for whom ‘organic’ isn’t a trendy word, it’s annoying red tape they have to go through in order to sell their wheat for a fair price at the co-op. Mildmay grows its own, and while a budding country music star isn’t the typical crop yield, you can be sure that every person who calls Bruce County home is proud of what he’s doing.

“I grew up in the middle of nowhere and that’s who I am as a person,” Owen shares, “I’m a pretty simple guy, happy with simple things.”

He wrote his very first song at 10 years old on a toy piano. After getting his first guitar from the Sears catalogue, he decided writing songs was an act of prayer and practice. A devotion to the craft of connection. Not 3 chords and a little truth, it had to be 3 chords and all of it. Wednesday nights were spent jamming Merle Haggard with his guitar teacher, which led to gigs in local bars playing cover tunes of his favourite artists. Country singers like Eric Church, but also genre-spanning bands like Bon Iver, Weezer, Green Day and Steve Miller Band. He would call up all the bars in the towns surrounding his, then play long sets in the corner of the room while hard working people ate hard earned meals. It’s a tough crowd to win over if you’re anything but authentic. Pretence does not pass the smell test in a small town.

Soon, he was seeing familiar faces pop up at all his gigs as he wove humility and honesty into every original song he started sneaking into the set. People singing along to the songs he wrote, and the bars he used to have to call, started calling him. One gig led to 2 gigs, led to 3 gigs, and soon he was playing every weekend and paying his dues in the way you’d always expect a small town farm kid to. Willingly. Honestly. Humbly.

2022 saw Owen move from the small stages of local bars to the big stage of the country music mega-fest Boots and Hearts. “It was mind-blowing,” Owen says. “I had never been on a stage that big before. The bars I was playing before that – we could fit four or five of those inside of that one structure.” Boots and Hearts, as well as other high profile festival slots like Music In The Fields, brought Owen to the attention of Universal Music Canada. That led to a record deal, and all the attention, opportunity, and the full schedule that comes along with it. Soon Mildmay turned into Broadway, with trips to music city for recording sessions and co-writes with some of Nashville’s biggest writers.

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