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Published: 2013/07/09
by Jeff Tamarkin

Peter Rowan
The Old School

Compass

Although he’s occasionally veered and experimented, Peter Rowan’s comfort zone has always been pure traditional bluegrass, and—as if the album’s title isn’t enough of a giveaway—that’s exactly what this latest release from the 70-year-old singer and guitarist is all about. Rather than stick to one group of support players though, Rowan opens the festivities to a rotating cast that includes both veterans of the genre (Jesse McReynolds, J.D. Crowe, Del McCoury) and some of the younger traditionalists who’ve been keeping the music alive. And while the players may be “Keepin’ It Between the Lines,” as the opening track (reprised as the closer) goes, the songs are nearly all Rowan originals, with only one standard, “O Freedom” (arranged by Rowan) among them. Of those, none is more poignant than “Doc Watson Morning,” a sweet and loving tribute to a man who remains an inspiration to so many.

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