Peter Rowan attributes his success to the creative and diverse music scene he experienced in Boston during the late 50s and 60s. Boston has traditionally had a rich music scene with clubs catering each to a varied selection of genres. As a teen, Rowan was particularly drawn to the high lonesome harmonies found in the bluegrass ballads and in particular Monroe's bluesy and darker themed bluegrass sound.
Launching his most highly successful career in 1964 as a Bluegrass Boy under the mentoring eye of Bill Monroe, Rowan has gone on to become an award winning singer-song writer with a style of his own. His career took him along the path to collaborate with Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, Vassar Clements, and John Hartford in the acclaimed Old and in the Way and maintaining a long term friendship with Tony Rice. It is these associations that have carved the path for the release of Legacy
The quality and clarity of Rowan's tenor is untouched by the years but this CD celebrates Peter as a songwriter. Eleven of the thirteen cuts are written and lead by Peter's vocals with the exception of the purely instrumental Catfish Blues penned by band member Jody Stecher and Let Me Walk Lord by Your Side by Carter Stanley and rendered by Keith Little on this project. The Peter Rowan Band with Peter on lead vocals carry the majority of the project. Del McCoury and Ricky Skaggs join Peter in harmony on God's Own Child. Gillian Welsh and Dave Rawlings are featured with Peter on So Good. Tim O'Brien lends his fiddle to Lord Hamilton's Yearling.
The Family Demon cries with the dark theme of abuse and family dysfunction, while Father and Mother is a beautiful dark waltz about laying a man's parents to rest. Four of the cuts are faith based in theme. The Night Prayer was inspired by the traditional bedtime prayer "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" to deliver a nostalgic and peaceful hymn. It has a soft melody supported quietly by mandolin and a clear, crisp flat picking guitar style.
To me the cover of the liner notes portrays a man who has come full circle in his career and is relaxed in his accomplishments. It is a picture of Peter resting with his well worn guitar aside him on a couch. The hole in his sock speaks of Peter's long journey in music. While Legacy celebrates Peter's career accomplishments, let us hope it is not his last legacy.
This CD is a rich listen with a diverse selection of Peter's songs and is one that will surely capture the sensibilities of most bluegrass fans.
|Artist:||Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band|
|Released:||2011 Compass Records|
|Produced by:||Alison Brown|
|Engineered and Mixed:||Ben Surratt|
|Mastered:||RandyLeroy at Airshow, Takoma Park, MD|
|Record Label||Compass Records|
|Jailer Jailer||(Peter Rowan, Sea Lion Music, BMI)|
|The Family Demon||(Peter Rowan - Sea Lion Music, BMI)|
|Father, Mother||(Peter Rowan/Christopher Rowan, Sea Lion Music, BMI/Lemuria Music, BMI)|
|The Raven||(Peter Rowan/Warren Weldon, Sea Lion Music, BMI/Raging Raven Music, BMI)|
|So Good||(Peter Rowan, Sea Lion Music, BMI)|
|The Night Prayer||(Peter Rowan, Sea Lion Music, BMI)|
|Catfish Blues||(PD arr. Jody Stecher, Vegitboy Music, BMI)|
|Turn the Other Cheek||(Peter Rowan, Sea Lion Music, BMI)|
|God's Own Child||(Peter Rowan, Sea Lion Music, BMI)|
|Don't Ask Me Why||(Peter Rowan, Sea Lion Music, BMI)|
|Let me Walk Lord by Your Side||(Carter Stanley, Fort Knox Music, Inc/Tiro Music Company, BMI)|
|Lord Hamilton's Yearling||(Jody Stecher, Vegitboy, BMI)|
|Across the Rolling Hills (Padmasambhava)||(Peter Rowan, Sea Lion Music, BMI)|
Peter Rowan – Guitar and Lead Vocals (except Catfish Blues and Let Me Walk Lord by Your Side
Jody Stecher – Mandolin and Vocals - Lead on Catfish Blues
Keith Little – Banjo and Vocals - Lead on Let Me Walk Lord by Your Side
Paul Knight - Bass and Vocals
Del McCoury - Vocal (9)
Ricky Skaggs - Vocals and Mandolin (9)
Gillian Welch - Vocals (5)
Dave Rawlings - Guitar (5)
Tim O'Brien - Fiddle (12)
Photography and Design by: Robert Hakalski (www.visual-machinery.com)
This CD was provided to me to review at no cost from Compass Records