Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band

Back in the dim recesses of the '60s, Peter Rowan moved from his native Massachusetts to Nashville and landed a coveted spot with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, playing guitar, blending his high-tenor voice into the Boys' close harmonies, and even writing future classics ("Walls of Time") with the father of bluegrass. Rowan's subsequent career roamed far afield. Along with Richard Greene and David Grisman he helped launch the progressive newgrass movement, dabbled in a variety of eclectic progressive-rock projects, rode with the cosmic cowboy revival (writing about the notorious "Panama Red"), and explored such rootsy tangents as Tex-Mex and reggae. But Rowan periodically always returned to pure bluegrass, and he's done so again with a fine new album—Legacy, produced by Alison Brown—and quartet featuring mandolinist Jody Stecher, banjoist Keith Little, and bassist Paul Knight. The picking is inspired, the harmonies transcendent, and all the tunes—mostly Rowan originals—solid, easily slipping into a classic bluegrass repertoire. There's a gospel streak in several of Rowan's songs, but he can't resist a progressive jab at fundamentalist fanatics in "Jailer Jailer" ("My god does the job your god is just odd"). And "Across the Rolling Hills" incorporates a swirling Eastern sensibility, nicely bookending "Jailer" with an espousal of freedom in the form of Tibetan Buddhist deity Padmasambhava (who rides up like one of Rowan's cowboys). With Boulder Acoustic Society. All ages. (Photo by Ronald Rietman)
Thu., Nov. 4, 7 p.m., 2010

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