You’ve probably heard Owen Barney’s current single “Thank Her For That” on the radio. The song is almost a Top 20 hit in Canada (it was #21 on the national chart last week). While that catchy song may be your introduction to the Toronto-born singer/songwriter, his story is one of the those “overnight” success stories that took a lot longer than overnight. Barney is already on his second EP, “Diamonds & Dust.”

Owen was about 6 or 7 years old when he found his dad’s old guitar in the basement, not knowing until that moment that his father played a bit. His dad taught him a few chords and soon, Barney, learned his first song: Neil Young’s “Helpless.” He recalls it just “felt right.”

Growing up in Toronto, Barney spent a lot of time at the family cottage in the Muskokas, making fond memories of fishing with his grandfather. He also spent a lot of time, 4 months out of the year, in Edmonton, where his mom’s side-of-the-family was based. Mom was the country fan in the family and Owen remembers listening to Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks.

But as Owen and his repertoire grew, Eric Church became a huge influence.

Now that Barney has a big hit on his hands, next comes the hard part. Trying to replicate or better the success of “Thank Her For That.” And even if that doesn’t happen, that’s OK. This young man has a very promising future ahead of him.

I first heard and saw him in June 2019 when he played in Ottawa during one of the CMAOntario’s many showcases leading to their provincial awards that year. I knew then he was one to watch.