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 music while a member ofSeatrain, performing with Jerry Garcia in Old & in the Way, writing “Panama Red” for the New Riders of the Purple Sage or appearing on an Art of Noise album, Rowan has been recording and entertaining for nearly 50 years — with no sign of stopping.
Recently, when not touring the world, Peter Rowan could be found on the beaches and in the clubs of Hawaii, absorbing the sounds that filled the airwaves in the days of Jimmie Rodgers and Mae Belle Carter, and adapting them to a brand new set of his own songs. My Aloha!, set for release on May 5, 2017 on Omnivore Recordings, demonstrates how Hawaiian steel guitar and ukulele were an influence on foundational bluegrass, folk, and country artists like Bill Monroe, even if the connection is not immediately obvious.
My Aloha! finds Peter returning to these Hawaiian roots, and bringing them into the present as only he can. Recorded in Honolulu, and featuring noted players Douglas Po’oloa Toletino, Jeff Au Hoy, Kilin Reece, and Uncle Mike Souza, My Aloha! contains 11 originals, played with the heart and style of those who understand that musical labels and genres are only that — simple definitions. The various sounds found in our favorite styles of music aren’t as far apart as we might think, each influencing, and borrowing, heavily from others.
With notes from Rowan and vintage string authority Reece, the disc’s journey is not only one of sound, but one that takes you into the heart of how interconnected the music of our world truly is. There’s a reason they’re called radio waves.
Rowan writes, “It’s always some old fiddler in the crew who knows the oldest tunes, a slack key guitarist who pulls out the most obscure, haunting, and most beautiful song just when it seems the party is over — around the break of day. From old missionary hymns, ragtime jazz, the blues, and what Jelly Roll Morton called the Spanish ‘tinge,’ bluegrass inherited much from Hawaiians and traditional Hawaiian music.”
So, dip your toes in the moving ocean of music, relax, and enjoy My Aloha!
1. My Blue Hula Girl
2. Jerry in the Deep Blue Sea
3. Sunny at Sunrise
4. Lotus Flower
5. My Aloha (Appalachian Mountain Home)
7. The Waltz of Waikiki
8. A Man of Time and Tides
9. Two Ships in the Night
10. Uncle Jimmy
11. Sunny at Sunrise (Reprise)