But I never made any secret of it. I didn't talk about it but I never made any secret of it. Everybody knew. Anybody that knew anything about me [knew] that. I tried steel players and fiddle players and all kinds of things. I just gave up and did the right thing because I'd been looking for a Don Rich and there was no more Don Riches. I don't think there is anyplace in the world. I've heard people that could play like him, but could they sing? Did they have the flavor? The tone? Did they have the stuff? The great chemistry with Don Rich was apparent the first time we got on a stage together.
After Rich's passing, Owens closed the door on his musical career, kept pickin' and grinnin' on Hee Haw until he couldn't take it anymore, locked his songs in a legal trunk and faded away into his business until Dwight Yoakam and a few others pulled him out from behind his desk and put him back under the spotlight in the late '80s. More recently, he's let the catalogue out and let the public rediscover music that's every bit as fresh as it was then -- even performing weekly at his own Crystal Palace theater in Bakersfield. And like the Beatles' music, Owens' work has aged well -- it still rings with good-natured charm and plenty of humor, and an occasional whiff of melancholy.
Dwight Yoakam: He had a great instinct that served him well, and he's a consummate showman. I'm the antithesis of that (laughs), which at times frustrates the hell out of Buck. But he's the best -- just the best.