Peter Rowan (Photo by Ronald Rietman)
Grammy-award winner Peter Rowan is a singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades. The bluegrass veteran performs with Peter Rowan’s Free Mexican Airforce at The Birchmere on Monday, July 12.
Peter Rowan’s Free Mexican Airforce is a high-velocity group that often features members of Grammy-award winning Los Texmaniacs, in addition to Paul Knight on bass and Jamie Oldaker on drums.
The four-piece band often features Cindy Cashdollar on pedal steel guitar, in addition to bass and drums. This is Peter Rowan plugged in and includes some of his most loved songs — Come Back to Old Santa Fe, Ride the Wild Mustang, Midnight Moonlight and, of course, Free Mexican Airforce!
Stream “The Free Mexican Airforce” by Peter Rowan on YouTube:
From his early years playing under the tutelage of Bluegrass veteran Bill Monroe, to his time in Old & In the Way and his breakout as a solo musician and bandleader, Peter has built a devoted, international fan base through a solid stream of recordings, collaborative projects, and constant touring.
Born in Wayland, Massachusetts to a musical family, Peter learned to play guitar from his uncle. He spent his teenage years absorbing the sights and sounds of the Hillbilly Ranch, a legendary Country music nightclub in Boston frequented by old-time acts like The Lilly Brothers and Tex Logan. In 1956, Peter Rowan formed his first band, the Cupids, while still in high school.
After three years in college, Rowan left academia to pursue a life in music. Rowan began his professional career in 1963 as the singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for the Bluegrass Boys, led by the founding father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. “One thing I started to like about the Monroe style was that there was a lot more blues in it than other styles of bluegrass,” reflects Rowan. “It was darker. It had more of an edge to it. And yet it still had the ballad tradition in it, and I loved that.”
The late ‘60s and early ’70s saw Rowan involved in a number of rock, folk and bluegrass projects, including Earth Opera, Sea Train, Muleskinner, and the Rowans, where he played alongside brothers Chris and Lorin Rowan. Peter subsequently embarked on a well-received solo career in the late ‘70s, releasing critically acclaimed records such as Dustbowl Children (a Woody-Guthrie style song cycle about the Great Depression), Yonder (a record of old-time country music in collaboration with ace dobro player, Jerry Douglas) and two extraordinarily fine bluegrass albums, The First Whippoorwill and Bluegrass Boy, as well as High Lonesome Cowboy, a recording of traditional and old-time mountain music with Don Edwards and Norman Blake. Rowan’s recent releases- Quartet, a recording with the phenomenal Tony Rice and Legacy with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, coupled with a relentless touring schedule have further endeared Peter Rowan to audiences around the world.
Internationally, Peter often performs as a solo singer-songwriter, while stateside, along with solo appearances, he plays in three bands: the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, a quintet featuring Keith Little, Chris Henry, Blaine Sprouse and Paul Knight; Big Twang Theory and its Texas Cousin Twang n Groove; and rock band The Free Mexican Air Force.
Peter Rowan’s Free Mexican Airforce
Monday, July 12
Show @ 7:30pm