Americana icon Peter Rowan has had a storied career. Whether singing and playing guitar for Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, opening for the Doors as part of Earth Opera (with David Grisman), having Sir George Martin produce his work while a member of Seatrain, performing with Jerry Garcia in Old and in the Way, writing bluegrass classics like “Walls of Time” and “Midnight Moonlight” or “Panama Red” forNew Riders of the Purple Sage, recording two duo albums apiece with with Tony Rice andFlaco Jiménez, or yodeling on an Art of Noise album, Rowan has been recording and entertaining for nearly 50 years — with no sign of stopping.
In the continuing partnership with Elk Run (the imprint of the Chelew brothers, Rick and John), which has brought the label Bert Jansch’s Heartbreak and Dave Van Ronk Live in Monterey, Omnivore Recordings is proud to present the next piece in Peter’s extensive and acclaimed discography, Dharma Blues.
Multiple Grammy Award-winning producer John Chelew, whose credits include albums by Richard Thompson, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Donovan and John Hiatt’s breakthrough “Bring the Family”, was instrumental in the conception and execution of this new and different Peter Rowan recording excursion. Rowan explains: “John came by my painting studio, an old sail-making loft in Sausalito where I was spending time working with visual media and writing songs. John was up for spiritual adventure; he had often booked me at McCabe’s Guitar Shop down in Santa Monica, so I started singing him these songs that I had written in India and Japan … had played ’em live, but never recorded. John began to get that mystical look in his eye, so we conspired to record at Sausalito’s legendary Plant Studios.”
Recorded in Los Angeles and New Orleans as well as Sausalito, Dharma Blues features twelve new Rowan tracks, as well as guest appearances from Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna) and vocals from Gillian Welch — with instrumentation ranging from banjo and pedal steel to harmonium and water drum. Dave Easley (Ruthie Foster, Shannon McNally) contributed pedal steel; and Jody Stetcher (David Bromberg, Jerry Jeff Walker) played banjo and tamboura.
Rowan continues to evolve and create, and this is especially evident on Dharma Blues.
“The doubts and resolutions of the spiritual journey are what drive Dharma Blues,” says Rowan. “May this music bring joy to all.”