Peter Rowan – Calling You From My Mountain
This new 13-cut set by Grammy-Award winner & Boston native Peter Rowan (guitar/vocal) born on the 4th of July — is pristinely recorded vocally & musically. Despite the genre’s antique oeuvre, it’s loaded with modern charm. The bluegrass is fresh sounding, energetic & fueled with a tradition that obviously survives to shine yet again. No blowing dust off this artist.
Rowan’s band is also multi-generational which helps. They mix up the program with traditional songs, originals & some instrumentals & keep it slightly peppered & fiery. Songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, A.P. Carter (of the Carter Family), bluegrass father Bill Monroe, Lightnin’ Hopkins & Rowan himself – are sprinkled liberally through the collection.
Rowan once belonged to the 1967 band Earth Opera with David Grisman which often opened for Jim Morrison & The Doors. Had been with Seatrain — a great band that featured innovative fiddle player Richard Greene. Peter also formed Old & In the Way with Grisman & Jerry Garcia. Just a towering artist in this field & he’s respected by so many musicians who are considered legendary.
Peter learned the first song “New York Town,” a Woody Guthrie tune from Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. Cut 5 is the intriguing & smooth “The Song That Made Hank Williams Dance,” with dynamic picking. Guest guitarist Shawn Camp sings the 2nd verse.
The album features many young enthusiastic musicians – a debt paid to Rowan’s old boss Bill Monroe for having seen something in the 22-year-old Peter Rowan all those years ago & became a member of Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.
Stand-out originals include the exceptional “A Winning Hand,” & “From My Mountain (Calling You),” with additional vocals by Molly Tuttle (lead & harmony vocals/clawhammer banjo) who is excellent & appears on 2 cuts. “Dream of Heaven,” is a sophisticated performance.
The tour-de-force comes with “Freedom Trilogy” at the finale. Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Penitentiary Blues (Big Brazos),” is a dusty soundscape. Nothing on this set is boring.
Produced by Peter Rowan the 47-minute Calling You From My Mountain (Drops June 24–Rebel Records) the musical finesse of Chris Henry (mandolin/harmony vocals), Max Wareham (banjo/harmony vocals), Julian Pinelli (fiddle), Eric Thorin (acoustic bass). Guests include Shawn Camp (guitar/harmony vocal), Mark Howard (bass vocal), Lindsay Lou (harmony vocal) & Billy Strings (guitar & lead guitar on the trilogy). The tunes were recorded in Minnesota & Tennessee.
This is not a laid-back effort either – the instrumentalists are sharp as a Ginsu knife & if nothing else each tune is upbeat, optimistic & just drenched in being joyous.
Maybe we all need a little more of that. Happy Birthday Peter.
The CD is a good-looking full-color 8-panel with detailed band credits & liner notes by Mr. Rowan. Color photo by Amanda Rowan. The CD @ https://peter-rowan.com/
Enjoy our earlier interview with Peter Rowan here: https://americanahighways.org/2018/04/19/interview-peter-rowan-on-new-album-carter-stanley-uncle-pens-cabin-and-the-old-and-in-the-way-days/amp/