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You Were There for Me

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Album Review

One has to consider the collaborative union of renegade roots music guitarist Tony Rice and woolly Zen bluegrass legend Peter Rowan to be the most natural thing on earth and one that is long overdue. Both are true. While the two have played together on stages and even on record before, You Were There for Me marks their first full-fledged album collaboration. The program features no less than nine Rowan originals and a cover of Peter Lorin's fine "Cowboys and Indians." Rice is in fine playing form here, effortlessly underscoring and filling up Rowan's sung lines, and for his part, the songwriter is in fantastic voice. Accompanied throughout by bassist Bryn Bright and mandola and mandolin maestro Billy Bright — with guest appearances by drummer Larry Atamanuik and bassist Tony Garnier as well as Rob Emery on harmony vocals on a track each — the sound here is easy, free, and warm. But this is no mere feel-good jam recording. Instead, it is a collection of Rowan's most poetic material rendered with deep emotion, elegance, and grace by the singer buoyed by a band led by Rice's uncanny, soulful, and otherworldly playing. While there isn't a weak track in the set, the clear standouts are the title cut, "Tin Roof Shack," "Miss Liberty," "Shirt Off My Back," "Wild Mustang," and "Angel Island." One of the most poetic, emotionally honest, and gorgeously rendered albums of American music to come out in decades. This recording is among the best in either man's catalog.


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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You Were There for Me, Peter Rowan
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