By now most of you have heard the news about Owen’s passing… I woke up to this at 5 in the morning to get to work and the news felt like a fist to the gut.
The first time I met Owen was last year at Muddy Roots in Cookeville, I think it was Lou Shields that introduced us to each other. He gave me a firm handshake and made a sarcastic joke about Belgium. I knew from that moment on he was a great guy. I had seen him play in 2012 and loved his songs from the first note. In a scene where most bands are playing with dirty punk sound or attitude, Owen went the traditional path and I admired him for that.
From time to time we talked a little on facebook and he was always so thankful even if I couldn’t help, he was grateful that I tried. That’s a quality I miss in folks these days, you can’t always have what you want, but be thankful for people trying… Owen was like that, he was honest, straight forward, in your face and funny as hell!
It seems like last week, but Muddy Roots Europe is already a month away and that’s where I got to know more about Owen. He hung out at our camp every night, he sang songs to us while we shared drinks, burgers and stories. Owen was an amazing storyteller. People would gather around him and listen to him tell one of his crazy adventures, when the story was over he took a big sip of rum and played another song. He would then pass the guitar and let somebody else play and he would listen, really listen. He cared about that, people playing their songs… Every time he walked up to our camp you could see smiles on people’s faces, and the biggest one was his. He was so happy being in Europe, playing songs, telling stories or teaching people how to play a better banjo. He was teaching Stefan from Black Cat Bone Squad how to play clawhammer. Stefan who is ten years older took it all in as a little kid, looking at Owen like he was god… It was beautiful…
If you look at what’s happening on facebook you know that Owen touched many hearts, he sure touched mine. We where making plans to do an interview and a (non)Beagle Session in Cookeville in September and I was so looking forward to it. I guess it’s never gonna happen… The news of his passing makes me so damn sad, but I try to think about that one weekend, just a month ago, and that puts a smile on my face. I hope you can do the same. Remember him as he was, one hell of a good guy!
Here’s to you Owen! You will never be forgotten! CHEERS!