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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rowans - The Rowans (1975 us, beautiful folk country soft rock, 2004 remaster)

Progressive bluegrass group the Rowans consisted of harmonizing brothers Peter (guitar, most members of the mandolin family), Lorin (guitar), and Chris (guitar, flute). All three grew up in the small Massachusetts town of Weyland, near Boston, and played rock and bluegrass music together. Peter played with several folk bands in the New England area, joined Bill Monroe's band for a time, then teamed up with mandolin virtuoso David Grisman in the folk-rock outfit Earth Opera during the late '60s and early '70s. Lorin and Chris, meanwhile, teamed up as the folk/pop/country-rock duo the Rowan Brothers in the early '70s. With Grisman in tow, they relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and scored a record deal with CBS, helped in part by an endorsement from Grisman's old cohort Jerry Garcia. 

The Rowan Brothers' self-titled debut was released in 1972, with Grisman producing under the alias David Diadem, and they opened for the Grateful Dead. By 1975, brother Peter was between projects, and he joined his brothers as the renamed trio the Rowans. Their eponymous debut together was released on Asylum in 1975 and received highly positive reviews for its progressive, sometimes jazzy leanings and extended compositions. The 1976 follow-up, Sibling Rivalry, was equally acclaimed, but most critics agreed that 1977's Jubilations halted the trio's creative hot streak. They subsequently parted ways with Asylum and issued two more albums on the small Appaloosa label in 1980 before disbanding to pursue other projects. The Rowans reunited periodically for performances, particularly in the late '80s, and in 1994 (as Peter Rowan & the Rowan Brothers) recorded Tree on a Hill for the Sugar Hill roots label. 
by Steve Huey

Joined by brother Peter and Chris Lorin Rowan signed with Asylum Records for their second outing, this time as the Rowans. Peter injects a bit more substance into the material, although it follows the same folk and country-rock leanings of its predecessor. Once again, Chris and Lorin offer a collection of sincere, tuneful, albeit slight songs, while Peter delivers three of the album's best cuts, including "Beggar in Bluejeans," "Thunder on the Mountain," and the near-classic "Midnight, Moonlight" (also released that same year as part of the great bluegrass project Old & in the Way and a few years later on his solo debut). 
by Brett Hartenbach

1. Take It As It Comes (Lorin Rowan) - 3:22
2. Midnight-Moonlight (Peter Rowan) - 4:19
3. Me Loving You (Chris Rowan) - 4:04
4. Old Silver (Peter Rowan) - 3:02
5. Thunder On The Mountain (Peter Rowan) - 8:25
6. Beggar In Blue Jeans (Chris Rowan) - 4:56
7. Do Right (Lorin Rowan) - 4:15
8. Man-Woman (Chris Rowan) - 5:44
9. Pieces On The Ground (Lorin Rowan) - 3:54
10.Here Today Gone Tomorrow (Peter Rowan) - 3:42

*Peter Rowan - Electric, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Mandola, Mandocello, Tabla, Tamboura, Vocals
*Chris Rowan - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Flute, Keyboards, Vocals
*Lorin Rowan - Acoustic, Electric Guitar, Piano, Sound Effects, Vocals
*David Hayes - Bass
*Russ Kunkel - Drums
*Jack Bonus - Flute, Saxophone

1972  Rowan Brothers - Rowan Brothers
Related Act
1968  Earth Opera - Earth Opera
1969  Earth Opera - The Great American Eagle Tragedy

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