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Six String Soliloquy

Robert Bowlin

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Album Review

FGM Records is the recording arm of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, and it specializes in giving solo opportunities to guitarists best known as backup musicians. Robert Bowlin is a case in point, a Nashville accompanist with a long list of recording sessions and touring work behind country stars. The title Six String Soliloquy suggests the format he has chosen for his debut in the spotlight; it consists entirely of solo acoustic guitar instrumentals. (Bowlin is also an accomplished fiddler and plays several other instruments as well.) Many of the tunes are originals, but they really just serve as springboards for the demonstration of the guitarist's dexterity and virtuosity. His playing is always well articulated, and he maintains interest by varying his effects. He also calls to mind other players in various styles, sometimes mixing them up. The unfortunately titled "The Rain in Spain" (no, it's not the song from My Fair Lady, it's an original) gives an impression of what "The Water Is Wide" might sound like if it were being played by Django Reinhardt. Among Bowlin's many credits is one of those Pickin' On albums devoted to the work of Bruce Springsteen. "Eastland Dream" proves that Bowlin is more than ready to do a similar volume on James Taylor. Indeed, many folk-pop performers come to mind (Steve Goodman, for another) as Bowlin ranges around his instrument. Sometimes on their FGM albums, guitarists make a point of singing and asserting a style consistent with frontman status. Bowlin seems content to reveal just what a good guitarist he is, and leave it at that.

Biography

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Country musician Robert Bowlin began playing the ukulele at the age of one-and-a-half, and was playing the guitar at five. By the late 1970s, he was competing successfully in national flatpicking championships; he also picked up the fiddle along the way. His lengthy and successful career as a backup musician has included steady stage work with Bobby Bare, Tom T. Hall, Kathy Mattea, Bill Monroe, Maura O'Connell, the Osborne Brothers, Ray Price, Ricky Van Shelton, and Faron Young. In Nashville, he...
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Six String Soliloquy, Robert Bowlin
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