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Friend for Life

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Album Review

Autoharp virtuoso Bryan Bowers is known for his unique fingerpicking style attached to an instrument that is normally strummed. Bowers no doubt developed this style during his early proficiency on guitar as a kid. Bowers is primarily a live performer and storyteller, so his recorded works are few. Friend for Life is his first release on the Flying Fish label in over 18 years. He delivers an eclectic 21 tracks that cover traditional folk compositions as well as the blues of Howlin' Wolf, the traditional country of the Carter Family, the bluegrass of Jimmy Martin, and even lullabies ("Frere Jacques" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star").

Customer Reviews

A song for life

a national treasure, I first saw Bryan Bowers on a public TV show in the late 70's and within a few months gave up trying to play Banjo in favor of an Auto Harp. Nearly a decade later he came to our town for a concert and workshop. I got to attend both and still get goose bumps about being able to harmonize with him after thoroughly demonstrating my ignorance of the instrument and tuning. His graciousness however fueled my enjoyment of the instrument for relaxation and occasional sessions with friends. I've had the View from Home and Heart Albums for years, the latter on tape long since deceased, the former on CD is a staple of my listening. One of 10 carried with me when we came to China in 2000. Satisfied Mind is a standby tune played for and taught to my ESL students. Recently the title song of this latest album caught my ear in a new way. I've lost some friends and family as I aged, and on more than one occasion a song from within helped me express my feelings sometimes only to myself to help me pick up my heart and move on. Although I've listened to the song hundreds of times, I've always focused on the music and the instruments and never heard the words and the poignant message that only recently described my own musical catharsis - - - sorry to be so long, but Thankyou Bryan for your music, your preservation of music culture, your autoharp and your voice. It seems I've been a slow learner not only at playing, but listening as well.

Great Musician

I just listened to Bryan Bower live. He is a great musician and storyteller. Fantastic songwriter. He plays just a great and elagent instrument. Have to buy this CD.


Born: August 18, 1940 in Yorktown, VA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Autoharpist Bryan Bowers was born in St. Petersburg, VA, on August 18, 1940. As a boy, he would often sing along with the call-and-response harmonies of the railroad workers. He enrolled at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, VA, where he eventually began playing the guitar. But an itinerant multi-instrumentalist turned him on to the autoharp, and he was immediately hooked. Bowers dropped out of school and in 1971 moved to Seattle. While in Washington, Bowers busked on street corners and in barrooms,...
Full Bio
Friend for Life, Bryan Bowers
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