Carter Stanley’s Eyes

Peter Rowan

Rebel Records, 2018

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Peter Rowan was born in Massachusetts, which is not a state you usually associate with a bluegrass legend. At the age of 20, he auditioned and won the position of lead guitarist/vocalist in Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, he played rock and roll as a member of Earth Opera, The Rowan Brothers, Seatrain, and for a short spell with Jerry Garcia. His solo career has incorporated a number of styles, but he remains a bluegrass artist in his soul.

Rowan’s new album returns him to his roots. The Stanley Brothers – Carter and Ralph – were early influences, and Carter Stanley’s Eyes is a heartfelt tribute to them. While he records two of their tunes, Carter’s “A Vision Of Mother” and Ralph’s “Ridin’ On That Midnight Train,” he also channels their style throughout the 14 tracks on this release.

Rowan is now in his mid-seventies and a number of songs here deal with mortality. “Drumbeats On The Watchtower” is a song of aging and acceptance that only a person of his age could compose. The Carter track “Will You Miss Me” is partly sung without instruments as Rowan ruminates about the world without him in it.

There are a couple tunes where he fuses different styles to bluegrass. The gospel song “The Crown He Wore” connects the two closely associated disciplines. Ledbelly’s “Alabama Bound” has a nice blues feel within the parameters of bluegrass instrumentation.

The Carter Brothers helped Rowan to hone his bluegrass skills, and in many ways, the direction of his life. Carter Stanley’s Eyes is a payment for lessons well-learned.

Rating: A-

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