Podcast: Preserving Owen Mays’ country legacy

The late Wisconsin country artist’s friends and family are making sure his music remains available.


Photo by Josh Bishop.

Photo by Josh Bishop.

The country singer and songwriter Owen Mays grew up in Cambria, Wisconsin, about 40 miles north of Madison in Columbia County, and called the Madison area his home base while touring extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe. Last summer, Mays was in Madison getting ready to play a festival when he died unexpectedly of a congenital heart defect. Mays was only 32 years old, but he left behind several albums and EPs of stark, masterful original songs. Lately his friends and family have been posting the albums on Bandcamp and undertaking other efforts to make sure Mays’ work stays alive. His childhood friend Michael Smith joined me last week at The Wisco, where Mays often played, to talk about the project and his memories of Mays. Give it a listen here.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and catch WORT-FM’s weeknight news show In Our Backyard, which partners with us to produce these. Thanks to Dylan Brogan for producing this interview.

Help us publish more stories like this one.

Local art shows how people in Madison think and feel—how Madison looks, and how Madison looks at itself.



Will you help us raise $2,000 to shore up our budget for editorial art?



Will you help us raise $2,000 to hire more local artists?

This site uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Scroll to Top