Right now, he keeps good company in the Los Angeles recording studios, playing backup guitar and mandolin with the likes of Disney superstars the Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez and Demi Lovoto.
Owsley is no stranger to laying down sessions with A-list recording artists. He's backed up and maintained relationships with country music stars Amy Grant, Vince Gill and Shania Twain, all while finding time to record critically acclaimed solo work for a major label.
But he worked his butt to get there — in his eyes, luck didn't factor. He sacrificed everything, including his style of life. This guy sold his soul to rock 'n' roll when he was a 15-year-old boy growing up in Anniston. He said he doesn't know how to do anything else.
"There ain't no luck involved," he said. "I practiced till my freaking fingers bled and (I) begged to play for free."
Many years ago, Owsley played as many clubs as he could find in Calhoun County and the surrounding area, including places likes the Peerless Saloon and Whistle Stop in Anniston, Brother's Bar in Jacksonville, the Copper Penny in Oxford and fraternity parties scattered throughout the Southeast.
Things changed when he moved to Nashville on the blunt advice from a musician friend. One night an entertainment attorney who walked into a bar where Owsley was playing. After hearing his self-produced album, the attorney begged Owsley to let him help him get signed to a label. After countless practice sessions and regional gigs, Owsley signed with Warner Bros. and recorded his first full-length album.
For his current gig as a backup recording session musician, Owsley said a producer contacted him via Facebook and told him he loved his solo records — the Grammy-nominated Owsley and The Hard Way — and offered him some work.
In the long term, Owsley wants to produce others' albums, expressing a deep passion and need to teach budding musicians the lessons he learned.
"That's what washed up rock stars are," he said. "It's what guys like me do, studio rats. I'm 43. They're not going pay me to shake my a** on MTV."
To young musicians looking to break out in rock 'n' roll, he has a brutal but fair message they may or may not want to hear.
"If you're not going to get in a van and drive across the country and eat peanut butter sandwiches, then you're yesterday's news," he said, harkening back to his years as a struggling, but eager, amateur musician. "I would tell young bands to get their live shows together. That's the one thing they can't take from them. That's the only thing left."
Owsley does not want his hometown to misinterpret his desire to stay put out west or in another city that's kinder to folks trying to make a real living in the music industry. With stern conviction, he professes his love to the area that made him the man he is today, but he reiterates that he has kids to feed.
"I ain't coming back. No offense. Not until I'm dead," he said. "This is a style of life. This is a commitment I made at 10 years old. This dream is going to go on, whether I'm producing, singing, writing, playing or engineering. I'm going to be creative somehow.
"Maybe I'll be a teacher or something. Maybe I'll start the school of rock."
What really drives Owsley are his two young boys, also musicians. His 7-year-old drums and his 11-year-old understands recording computer software better than Owsley, and even finds him jamming with the amps turned up loud when he returns from a day's work.
"It's hard to feed kids," Owsley stressed, opining about the status of the struggling music industry that he said did not take the Internet age and illegal downloading seriously enough.
But he presses on anyway, spending hours in the studio, often playing well past the sun's setting and rising for one session. As an artist, he continues to grow and learn about the craft that brought him into a studio with such high profile acts.
Owsley toured with Grant, Judson Spence and Twain while also working closely in the studio with his other major artists, including Michael McDonald, Faith Hill and Charlotte Church.
"How many kids can say their dad played with the Jonas Brothers?" he said.
The Disney trio's latest album Lines, Vines, and Trying Times debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and currently holds that same spot. Owsley is currently recording Christmas music with Gomez and Lovoto, but he does not know if those songs will be featured on the same release.