Peter Rowan: #30 at 37th Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Peter Rowan: #30 at 37th Telluride Bluegrass Festival

[click “Play” to hear Peter Rowan’s conversation with Susan]

Prowan This iconic performer is about to join the ranks of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s 30-something club, an elite fraternity that includes among its members The King, Sam Bush, dobro king Jerry Douglas, and Grammy winner Tim O’ Brien. He is Telluride Bluegrass veteran Peter Rowan.

Peter Rowan performs at the 37th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival Friday, June 18, 2:30 p.m., in Peter Rowan and Crucial Country with Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas. The event marks a reunion of musical titans.

Peter Rowan was hardwired to make music: Both his parents sang and played piano, and he learned guitar from an uncle and a grandfather. Rowan, however, had a special talent: a chameleon-like ability to meld seemingly incompatible musical forms seamlessly.

Rowan’s career began in 1964, when the Boston-born Yank became the lead singer for “Father of  Bluegrass” Bill Monroe, touring Grand Ol’ Opry country and beyond with the legendary Bluegrass Boys. Years ago, Rowan told Telluride Inside…and Out Monroe taught him an indelible life lesson: never give up. And Rowan never has. Over a career spanning five decades, he persevered and grew, adapting the purity of Monroe’s string sound and refining the high lonesome to create his own unique, signature style.

In the 60s and 70s, Rowan’s ecumenical chops lent energy and freshness to the rock-folk-bluegrass combinations of David Grisman, Richard Greene (another Monroe graduate) and Clarence White. He joined Vassar Clements, Jerry Garcia and John Kahn to form Old & In the Way, playing bluegrass. During that time he penned the classic “Panama Red” and other time-honored hits.

Rowan’s solo career began in the late-1970s, when he also released a strong of acclaimed albums, including Reggaebilly, a blend of reggae and bluegrass, case in point to underline the elasticity of the man’s talent.

On the road, Rowan performs internationally as a solo singer-songwriter. In the States, he plays in three different bands: the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, a quartet featuring Jody Stecher, Keith Little, and Paul Knight; The Peter Rowan & Tony Rice Quartet; and his rocking band, The Free Mexican Air Force.

A little known fact about the man whose life has largely been an open book to his legions of fans: Peter Rowan is also a gifted fine artist, who hopes to leave his trace on the world with his “marks,” musical notes and paintings.

Want to learn more? Click the “play” button and listen to Peter Rowan’s interview.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.