Peter Rowan

Legacy – 2010 (Compass)

Reviewed by John Lupton

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CDs by Peter Rowan

Considering he's been linked throughout the years to a spectrum of artists that runs from The Doors through Jerry Garcia, David Grisman and Tony Rice, it's easy to forget that Peter Rowan first rose to prominence as guitarist and lead vocalist in Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys during the late 1960's, and the combination of his ethereal baritone with Monroe's powerful tenor is still fondly recalled by many as one of the most powerful and influential incarnations of that band.

The "legacy" here is not only a return to his Monroe roots, but also to the Stanley Brothers music that caught his attention as a youth - his cover of Carter Stanley's Let Me Walk Lord By Your Side is among the most striking cuts. The rest, however, serves as reminder that Rowan has been a premier songwriter for nearly five decades - The Night Prayer and The Family Demon are lyrically compelling, and among his best to date. His "Bluegrass Band" is stacked with veterans Jody Stecher (mandolin), Keith Little (banjo) and Paul Knight (bass), and with guests like Del McCoury and Ricky Skaggs (both also Monroe alums), it's a welcome demonstration that Rowan still knows and loves bluegrass.