Country music artist Owen Riegling poses for a photo during set up and sound check at the Longbranch, in Saskatoon, Sask., Saturday, May 11, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

Owen Riegling is getting a rare opportunity to rewind his career just as it’s picking up speed.

The 25-year-old rising country star from Mildmay, Ont., has gone back to his roots with a small tour of bars and pubs across four provinces just as his single “Old Dirt Roads” climbs to No. 2 on the Canadian country radio charts.

Riegling began his 12-date tour in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba earlier this month, while the Ontario leg kicks off Wednesday in Thunder Bay.

He says there’s a certain appeal to playing smaller venues because it brings him closer to his audience.

Riegling’s career hit the big time a couple of years ago when he won the 2022 Boots and Hearts Emerging Artists Showcase, which put him on the radar of Universal Music Canada.

The record label signed him and he’s been on a “whirlwind” tour ever since, releasing singles that include “Bud Light the Way,” “In My Head Again” and his upcoming EP “Bruce County” on May 24.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 14, 2024.

David Friend, The Canadian Press