Chris & Lorin Rowan, Harmony Vocals
Rowan summed it up best, “ It’s the harmony, stupid.”
Chris and Lorin Rowan grew up in the rural suburban New England town of Wayland, Massachusetts, 20 miles west of Boston, along with their older brother Peter. Their family was very musical performing traditional music that influenced the boys at an early age.
Peter Rowan blazed an early musical trail for his siblings with his early
1960’s stints as a member of Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys, and later,
as a member of such bands as Earth Opera and Seatrain.
“One of my early memories was remembering Bill Monroe’s bus when Peter and the Bluegrass Boys would come to visit,” recalled Chris Rowan recently. “We lived in a kind of rural area down a country lane. And that big old rambling bus was just able to make it down that narrow road.” In March of 1969, after The Beatles had opened Apple Records in London and announced to the world that they were signing new acts, Chris traveled to London to seek his fame and musical fortune. “ I hitchhiked to Paul’s house with a acoustic and electric guitar strapped on my back and Linda Eastman answered the door and told me to go away,” he remembered. Chris would busk his way through London where he was befriended by Procal Harum producer Chris Thomas.
After Lorin graduated high school, he and brother Chris teamed up as a vocal-guitar pop duo with brother Peter's ex - "Earth Opera" partner, mandolinist David Grisman. Moving to Marin County together, they met up with Grisman's old bluegrass friend, Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. At the time the Grateful Dead were beginning to explore their country-rock influences and Garcia played pedal steel with Chris and Lorin on some of their demos and gigs. Chris and Lorin auditioned for David Geffen who was just starting up Asylum Records, however, a last minute audition for Clive Davis at the Beverly Hotel’s Polo Lounge sealed a deal with Columbia Records. Clive Davis heralded the new acoustic based band in the pages of Rolling Stone. Their self-titled début album was produced by David Grisman and featured not only Garcia, but also fellow Grateful Dead member Billy Kreutzmann who shared drumming duties with Jim Keltner. The Rowan Brothers opened for the Grateful Dead at the closing of the Fillmore West accompanied by Jerry Garcia on pedal steel. Footage from their soundcheck for that show was included in the film, Fillmore-The Last Days.
record mogul David Geffen was not to be undeterred as Chris and Lorin would
later team up with brother Peter as “The Rowans” to record three records
on Asylum Records; ‘The Rowans’, ‘Sibling Rivalry’ and ‘Jubilation’ that
featured their sterling three part harmonies. The Rowan Brothers also did
recording sessions for other artists including Terry and The Pirates with
John Cipollina producing and playing guitar. I caught The Rowan Brothers
at My Father’s Place in Roslyn, NY back in the mid 1970’s. To say
that their harmonies were breathtaking would be an understatement.
During the 1980's, Lorin formed a local San Francisco rock-reggae group called "The Edge". The band recorded several independent releases and were favorites on the local club scene. Fans of The Edge will be happy to learn that they have begun playing ‘live’ again a couple of times a year.
In 1994, billed as Peter Rowan and The Rowan Brothers , Peter, Chris, and Lorin reunited for a CD entitled "Tree on a Hill (Sugar Hill) that was steeped in acoustic American-roots music. 2002 saw The Rowan Brothers (including Peter Rowan) reuniting again for an acclaimed CD, Crazy People. The acoustic swing/Caribbean flavored collection was over 10 years in the making. Originally recorded in Nashville, with stellar back-up musicians Jerry Douglas (dobro), Sam Bush (mandolin), Roy Husky Jr. and Edgar Meyer (stand-up bass), and Larry Atamanuike (drums), the recordings were later finished in the last couple of years in Northern California, with among others, Flaco Jimenez (accordian) and Dick Bright (violin).
has released several outstanding solo records that display his folk-country-rock
roots including My Father’s Son, (Black Dehlia Music), Lorin Rowan Trio-Live,
and his most recent release, Rebel Sons (Taxim). Lorin is also respected
as one of the genre’s finest songwriters. Lorin’s “Soldier of The
Cross,” the title cut on Rickey Scaggs’ record, took home a Grammy Award
for best Gospel /Bluegrass CD in 2001. In 2002, Lorin played mandolin and
acoustic guitar on George Michalski’s CD, San Francisco, along with another
contributor to J.C. Flyer’s CD Movin’ On, pedal steel ace Barry Sless.
Completing the circle is that Ernest “Boom” Carter is also a member of
Lorin’s touring band.
The songs that Chris Rowan writes are based in rock ‘n’ roll with intricate interweaving of vocal harmonies that he renown for. Chris is currently working on his first solo CD entitled “Swim” that reveals a singer-songwriter of maturity- sharing heartfelt stories of love and life’s journey. Joining him on this musical journey will be Brent Ramponi, Barry Sless, and Mookie Siegel.
guys! I feel both honored and privileged to have had the opportunity
to sing with you.
To learn more about The Rowan Brothers please check out their websites:
Chris Rowan - www.chrisrowan.com
Lorin Rowin - www.lorinrowan.com