Episode 74: Peter Rowan [Part 1]

Just hours after Peter Rowan performed at the 8th Annual Holiday Hootenanny in Atlanta, he sat down with Rob and Seth for a lengthy interview the first part of which is included here. Peter explains how Boston’s Hillbilly Ranch was the focus of that area’s underground traditional and bluegrass music world and how it helped him and others discover this timeless music. Peter talks about the early Massachusetts bluegrass scene and explains how he would end up being hired to play some some New England dates with the iconic father of bluegrass music. Monroe quickly becomes a central part of this interview, and we learn not only about how Monroe had helped a young Ray Charles but also about when Peter witnessed their reunion. Peter gives a first-hand account of Bill as a band leader, songwriting partner and friend. He explains the various ways Bill reached out to help and provide opportunities for him, and how Bill even sometimes intimidated a young Peter even at later points when Peter had become somewhat “in charge of Bill’s career.” We hear about the significance of Tex Logan, Jim Rooney, Bill Keith, Joe Val, Ralph Rinzler, Chubby Wise, Vassar Clements and others. Peter also discusses playing at Uncle Pen’s house, Monroe bringing Peter to meet Carter Stanley in the Clinch Mountains and how later in life Rowan and Monroe discussed the songwriting credits for “Walls of Time.”

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Mixed by Spencer Garn at Diamond Street Studios

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