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Bryan Bowers

Autoharpist Bryan Bowers was born in St. Petersburg, VA, on August 18, 1940. As a boy, he would often sing along with the call-and-response harmonies of the railroad workers. He enrolled at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, VA, where he eventually began playing the guitar. But an itinerant multi-instrumentalist turned him on to the autoharp, and he was immediately hooked. Bowers dropped out of school and in 1971 moved to Seattle.

While in Washington, Bowers busked on street corners and in barrooms, honing his autoharp performance skills. Then he made his way to Washington, D.C., where he was noticed by the Dillards during a performance at that city's famed folk club The Cellar Door. He tagged along with the band to a bluegrass festival in Berryville, VA, and when they brought Bowers out for their final encore, he brought the house down. Bowers' five-fingered picking of the instrument (rather than the traditional strum) was unique, and added resonance to his already dynamic performances.

In 1977, Bowers signed with the Flying Fish label, which released his debut in 1977. View from Home featured contributions from New Grass Revival members Sam Bush and Courtney Johnson. Released in 1980, Home, Home on the Road showcased not only Bowers' astonishing autoharp technique, but his easygoing wit as well. Bowers was always as much a singer and storyteller as he was an instrumental virtuoso; the rich vocals and Celtic arrangements on his 1982 LP, For You, speak to this. Despite these successful recordings, Bowers was always more comfortable as a live performer, and continued to appear at festivals and workshops throughout the 1980s and '90s. Finally, in 2000, Bowers returned to wax with Friend for Life. He also released an instructional autoharp video intended for intermediate players interested in taking the next step toward advanced songs and styles. ~ Johnny Loftus
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Friend For Life

1. Friend For Life

2. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

3. Cluck Old Hen

4. Frere Jacques

5. Storms On The Ocean

6. Old Joe Clark

7. Give Me The Roses

8. Opera Reel

9. Red River Valley

10. White Coral Bells

11. Amazing Grace

12. Gospel Ship

13. Glory Land

14. Phoebe Snow

15. Shortening Bread

16. Sitting On Top Of The World

17. Banks Of The Ohio

18. Woodland Dreams

19. Farther Along / Angel Band

20. Pick A Bale Of Cotton

21. Crossing The Water

22. Auld Lang Syne

x

Track List: For You

1. Bill Cheatam

2. Reflections in a Crystal Wind

3. Maggie Brown's Favorite

4. Oral

5. Towers

6. Festival Love

7. Early Rising

8. Hard Times

9. Reunion

10. Big Band Theory

11. Aura

12. Seals Meal/Trincomali Hornpipe (Medley)

13. Hollywood Hotel

14. HawthorneTree

15. Rufus and Beverly

16. Old Lovers

x

Track List: By Heart

1. Hot Buttered Rum

2. Stony Point

3. Dog

4. I'll Fly Away

5. Zen Gospel Singing

6. Black Heart

7. Battle Hymn Of The Republic

8. Ramparts

9. Shady Grove

10. Ezekiel

11. Road To Sligo/The Girl I Left Behind Me

12. Rickett's Hornpipe

x

Track List: Home Home On The Road

1. Flowers Of Edinburgh

2. Berkeley Woman

3. Four Wet Pigs

4. Stately Mansions

5. This Age We Live In

6. The Scotsman

7. Scotland

8. Bad Boy

9. Grandfather's Clock

10. Beautiful Life

11. Stephen Foster Medley

12. Prison Song

13. Dixie

x

Track List: The View From Home

1. Blackberry Blossom

2. St. Anne's Reel

3. Golden Slippers

4. Black Jack Davey

5. Liberty

6. Satisfied Mind

7. Red Haired Boy

8. Walkin' In Jerusalem

9. Rights Of Man

10. Simple Gifts

11. Fisher's Hornpipe

12. Gold Watch & Chain

13. The View From Home

Comments

Report as inappropriate
Has no one really written on Bryan Bowers in 6 years? Best autoharp player alive is right; made me buy one just to check it out. Saw him in Milwaukee a few times in the 1970s-great stage presence. Weird that he's best-klnown for The Scotsman--al t h o u g h it is a great song (and probably pays the bills). Does he still tour--will check in a minute.
Report as inappropriate
I have'nt talked to Brian for a couple of years. Old friend from high school. Lost touch. Lives in the seattle area. Best autoharp player alive!!!
Report as inappropriate
Is this the same man as Brian Bowers, whose album "by heart" is vocal and autoharp?... . If so, can we have some of that stuff?
Report as inappropriate
Try his older album on Flying Fish Records. "For You" alternates vocal and audoharp tracks. "View From Home" is also really good.
Report as inappropriate
love his song old lovers

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