Peter Rowan

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Peter Rowan
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Musical Instrument Museum - MIM says
GRAMMY winner and six-time nominee, Peter Rowan is a singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades. From his early years of playing under the tutelage of bluegrass veteran Bill Monroe to his time with the supergroup Old & in the Way and his breakout as a solo musician and bandleader, Rowan has built a devoted, international fan base through a solid stream of records, collaborative projects, and constant touring.

Rowan began his professional career in 1963 as the singer-songwriter and rhythm guitarist for the Bluegrass Boys, led by the founding father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. “One thing I started to like about the Monroe style was that there was a lot more blues in it than other styles of bluegrass,” reflects Rowan. “It was darker. It had more of an edge to it. And yet it still had the ballad tradition in it, and I loved that.”

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw Rowan involved in a number of rock, folk, and bluegrass bands, including Earth Opera, Sea Train, Muleskinner, and the Rowans, where he played alongside brothers Chris and Lorin Rowan. After the Rowan Brothers disbanded, Rowan, David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Vassar Clements, and John Kahn formed a bluegrass band christened Old & in the Way. It was during this incarnation that Rowan penned the song “Panama Red,” a subsequent hit for the New Riders of the Purple Sage and a classic ever since.
Rowan subsequently embarked on a well-received solo career in the late 1970s, releasing critically acclaimed records such as Dustbowl Children (a Woody Guthrie–style song cycle about the Great Depression), Yonder (old-time country music in collaboration with ace dobro player Jerry Douglas), and two extraordinarily fine bluegrass albums, The First Whippoorwill and Bluegrass Boy, as well as High Lonesome Cowboy, a recording of traditional and old-time mountain music with Don Edwards and Norman Blake. Rowan’s recent release is Dharma Blues, a bluegrass and country album inspired by his Buddhist beliefs.

“Peter Rowan is the real bluegrass deal.”—ABC Radio National
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By: Musical Instrument Museum - MIM

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