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Album Review

Allowing Peter Rowan and Tony Rice to front a small acoustic band is a shortcut to creating a bluegrass-folk supergroup. Few bluegrass-folk vocalists achieve Rowan's rich, resonant delivery, and while he's certainly a "good" singer, he maintains weathered edges that make him a good (read "authentic") folksinger. Rice's guitar style, equally melodic and nimble, warmly wraps itself around Rowan's vocals. These winning attributes, however, only begin to explain the carefully woven tapestry of Quartet, a richly realized folk recording. Both bassist/vocalist Bryn Davies and mandolinist/vocalist Sharon Gilchrist add considerably to the spaciousness of the sound and intricate interplay between the four musicians. Davies and Gilchrist's vocal harmony likewise supplies an additional emotional layer on "Dust Bowl Children" and "To Live Is to Fly." While the songs have been carefully selected, the content of individual lyrics seem to matter less than the tone of Rowan's vocals, the harmony, Rice's lead lines, and the mix of acoustic instruments. Quartet, then, is more about creating an entwined sound with a solid bottom end than lyrical content, and the songs are simply vehicles for that sound. Quartet starts stronger than it ends, but the early material is very strong. While both Rice and Rowan seem more intent in refining earlier stylistic innovations than creating new ones, Quartet's progressive acoustic vision remains fresh and vital. ~ Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., Rovi


Born: 04 July 1942 in Boston, MA

Genre: Country

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

A major cult figure among progressive bluegrass aficionados, Peter Rowan participated in a number of adventurous projects in the late '60s and '70s before embarking on a highly productive solo career. Primarily a guitarist, Rowan also sang, yodeled, and played various members of the mandolin family. He was born in 1942 and grew up in Wayland, Massachusetts, near Boston; his parents and several relatives were musicians, and he and his brothers Chris and Lorin grew up playing both rock and bluegrass...
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Quartet, Peter Rowan
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