meet owepar

Owepar Entertainment

Owepar Entertainment is a Nashville-based multi-media entertainment company and record label that was launched in 2019. It is dedicated to preserving and spotlighting the rich musical history of the Owens-Parton family and propelling the family legacy into the future. The company is a continuation of Owepar Publishing, a music publishing company founded by Dolly Parton and her uncles, Bill Owens and Louis Owens, in 1967.


The story of American music is also a story of family traditions.

When settlers from the British Isles arrived in Appalachia, they brought centuries of songs, musical styles, and performance traditions with them. That was particularly true in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee and western North Carolina, where the story of Owepar Entertainment began on front porches and at church meetings and family get-togethers. The Owens family had a long tradition of making music. That legacy came into focus in the 20th century through Jake Owens, a musician, songwriter, and preacher who became the patriarch of a musical family dynasty whose inheritors would take their music from their Tennessee mountain home to the world.

In 1967, Jake Owens’ 21-year-old granddaughter, Dolly Parton, founded Owepar Publishing as a partnership with her uncle, Bill Owens. Bill and his brothers, Louis and John Henry, worked as musicians, performers, and songwriters for many years, recording singles for Goldband Records and their own Circle B label. In 1964, Bill relocated to Nashville, followed a few weeks later by his niece Dolly. Within months, Dolly signed a recording contract with Monument Records, and both she and her Uncle Bill signed as songwriters with Monument’s publishing company Combine Music.


The Business Grows

By 1967, Dolly was a fast-rising star appearing on Porter Wagoner’s TV show and scoring hits on RCA Records. Around the same time, Dolly and Bill seized the opportunity to form their own publishing company, Owepar, with Bill’s brother Louis as a partner and company manager. Owepar was soon racking up hit after copyrighted hit, not only from the company’s founders and family members but also from other songwriters, including Porter Wagoner, who would become a partner in Owepar. During this time, Bill and Louis Owens produced several recordings on Owepar-affiliated record labels, including the first released recordings from Dolly’s mother, Avie Lee Parton, and Dolly’s sisters, WIlladeen, Stella, and Cassie.

In 1972, Owepar purchased two properties on Music Row, moved their offices into a larger building, and started constructing a new recording facility. Fireside Studios opened in March 1973 and immediately began cutting hits for Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Emmylou Harris, Marty Robbins, Bill Monroe, and many others.

When Dolly broke off her professional relationship with Wagoner in 1974, the untangling of their partnership brought big changes to Owepar. The next year, Louis Owens stepped down from Owepar’s management to work with his own label, Royal American Records, and launch Louis Owens Promotions, the first Nashville-based company to specialize in creating tour merchandise for country artists.


From Porter To Dollywood.

When Dolly’s business affairs with Wagoner were settled in 1981, Owepar Publishing ceased to exist. Dolly incorporated Velvet Apple Publishing in 1982 as the new home for her songs and those written by other family members. Over the next three decades, the Owens-Parton musical legacy continued through live performances, recordings, and television appearances as new generations of family members found their own paths in the entertainment business. In 1986, the Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, opened and became an entry point to the entertainment business for family members and other talented individuals from the Great Smoky Mountains region.


The Owepar brand was reborn in 2019 as Owepar Entertainment under the management of Louis Owens’ son, Richie Owens, with Dolly’s full support and backing. Growing up “in the industry”, Richie has enjoyed a long career as a musician, songwriter, bandleader, record producer, label owner, instrument designer, and filmmaker.

In addition to producing Dolly’s 1998 album Hungry Again, he was a member of her road band for many years and played on several of her albums. Richie brings a strong business sense, marketing savvy, and a deep understanding and respect for his family’s creative legacy to the new Owepar.

Dolly Parton is dedicated to making this a true family business, and many of the company’s principals are drawn from within the Parton and Owens families. The family legacy is being preserved in a way that Grandpa Jake Owens would have admired.


“Owepar Entertainment is a tremendous opportunity to preserve and spotlight our family’s rich musical history.”

Richie Owens

Through historic recordings, film, print, museum exhibits, and other media, Owepar is re-telling and respecting the stories and the legacy. At the same time, Owepar is moving that legacy into the future by tapping into new generations of family talent in music, literature, filmmaking, performing arts, and entrepreneurial innovation. Across multiple platforms — physical media, streaming content, and more, Owepar is creating a new tradition in entertainment.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to shepherd our family’s legacy and story into the future,” Owens says. “It’s a continuing journey. It’s the story of how the music from the British Isles came to America, was nurtured in the mountains of East Tennessee, became a part of the Nashville story, and still continues to be shared with the world.”