Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Peter Rowan, June 4, 2011

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries

 

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00:00:00 - Early interest in bluegrass in Boston, Massachusetts

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Partial Transcript: My name's Paul Congo.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan begins by discussing the influence of radio on his early childhood and his interest in country and bluegrass music despite living in Boston, Massachusetts. Rowan discusses his childhood homemade banjo and the television programs that inspired its creation.

Keywords: "Fiddling" Tex Logan (Artist); 1942; 1950s; Banjos; Belcher, Finley Duncan “Red” (Artist); Benjamin "Tex" Logan (Artist); Big Top (Television program); Bill Monroe (Artist); Boston (Mass.); Boston Naval Yard; Confederate Mountaineers (Artist); Copas, Lloyd Estel "Cowboy" (Artist); Cowboy Copas (Artist); Don Stover (Artist); Fascination; Finley Duncan “Red” Belcher (Artist); George "Hound Dog" Lorenz (Artist); Homemade banjos; Jones, Lindley "Spike" (Artist); Lee Moore (Artist); Lilly Brothers (Artist); Lindley "Spike" Jones (Artist); Lloyd Estel "Cowboy" Copas (Artist); Logan, Benjamin "Tex" (Artist); Logan, “Fiddling” Tex (Artist); Lorenz, George "Hound Dog" (Artist); Military bases; Monroe, Bill (Artist); Moore, Lee (Artist); Musical styles; New England; Sailors; Soldiers; Sound; Square dances; Stover, Don (Artist); Style; Television; The Hillbilly Ranch (Boston, Mass); WKBW (Radio station); WWVA (Radio station); Wheeling (W. Va.); World War II

Subjects: Banjo music (Bluegrass); Bluegrass music.; Childhood; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Music audiences; Music fans.; Music.; Musical groups.; Musical instruments.; Musicians; Old-time music.; Practicing (Music); Radio programs.; Radio stations.; Songs.; Square dance music.; Square dancing

GPS: Boston (Mass.)
Map Coordinates: 42.361145, -71.057083
00:07:29 - First instruments / Musical and social environment of the 1950s

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Partial Transcript: Is that the first time you'd played any kind of stringed instrument at all?

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about seeing a guitar at his great uncle's house as a child. He talks about the atmosphere of the 1950s created by McCarthyism and anti-communism versus the folk boom. He says the pop music of the fifties was bland so he began listening to other genres including African American gospel music.

Keywords: 1950s; African American gospel; American folk music revival; Arthur Godfrey (Artist); Autry, Gene (Artist); Black gospel; Bland; Buddy Holly (Artist); Busby, Buzz (Artist); Buzz Busby (Artist); Buzz Busby and the Bayou Boys (Artist); Communism; Como, Perry (Artist); Dances; Dwight D. Eisenhower; Eisenhower, Dwight D.; Elvis Presley (Artist); Fathers; First records; Folk boom; Frank Sinatra (Artist); Gene Autry (Artist); Godfrey, Arthur (Artist); Great uncles; Guitars; Holly, Buddy (Artist); Homer and Jethro (Artist); House Un-American Activities Committee; Joseph McCarthy (U.S. Senator); McCarthy, Joseph (U.S. Senator); McCarthyism; Paper company; Parodies; Parody; Penniman, Richard Wayne "Little Richard" (Artist); Perry Como (Artist); Pop music; Presley, Elvis (Artist); Ragtime piano; Richard Wayne "Little Richard" Penniman (Artist); Rock 'n' roll; Sentimental; Sinatra, Frank (Artist); Square dances; Ukuleles; WVDA (Radio station); Wallpaper; World War II

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Childhood; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Guitar music (Bluegrass); Music audiences; Music fans.; Music--Instruction and study.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical instruments.; Musicians; Old-time music.; Practicing (Music); Songs.

GPS: Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Map Coordinates: 42.5834228, -71.8022955
00:17:03 - Interest in country music

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Partial Transcript: So everything is sleepy, sleepy fifties.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about how rock 'n' roll began to change the music business. He talks about his exposure to country music radio stations, connections in the country music scene, and his attraction to country and bluegrass music without really being aware of genres.

Keywords: "Cowboy" Jack Clement (Artist); Bill Monroe (Artist); Bragg, Nelson (Artist); Buddy Holly (Artist); Busby, Buzz (Artist); Buzz Busby (Artist); Changes; Childhood; Clement, "Cowboy" Jack (Artist); Deejays; Disc jockeys; Don Parker (Artist); Hayloft Jamboree (Radio program); Holly, Buddy (Artist); Jerry Lee Lewis (Artist); Lewis, Jerry Lee (Artist); Managers; Monroe, Bill (Artist); Musical categories; Musical genres; Nelson Bragg (Artist); Parker, Don (Artist); Payola; Rock 'n' roll; Scotty Stoneman (Artist); Sponsors; Stoneman, Scotty (Artist); WCOP (Radio station); Washington, D.C.

Subjects: Bluegrass music.; Country music.; Music audiences; Music business; Music fans.; Music--Economic aspects.; Music.; Old-time music.; Radio programs.; Radio stations.; Songs.

00:21:42 - Starting his first band at age 12 and introduction to the folk scene at Harvard Square

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Partial Transcript: Uh, so now I'm, okay, twelve years old, I've got my own rock and roll band.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about starting his first band and what it was like to play his first show. He talks about the circumstances that led to his discovery of the folk music scene at Harvard Square. He discusses the anti-communist environment of the 1950s and 1960s. He talks about the influence the folk scene had on his life and mentions some of the artists he saw there. He talks about the grassroots beginnings of rock 'n' roll package shows and the growth of music as a business.

Keywords: 1950s; Acoustic guitars; Attention; Baez, Joan (Artist); Berry, Chuck (Artist); Bill Keith (Artist); Boston (Mass.); Changes; Childhood; Chuck Berry (Artist); Club 47 (Venue); Clubs; College students; Communism; Concerts; Crowds; Dances; Folk scene; Gigs; Grassroots; Guitar players; Guitars; Harmony singing; Harvard Square; Harvard University; House bands; Jim Rooney (Artist); Joan Baez (Artist); Joseph McCarthy (U.S. Senator); Keith, Bill (Artist); Learning to play; McCarthy, Joseph (U.S. Senator); McCarthyism; Musical styles; Package shows; Philadelphia (Pa.); Resonance; Response; Rock 'n' roll; Rolling Stones (Artist); Rooney, Jim (Artist); Shows; Square dances; Summer jobs; Telecaster; The Hillbilly Ranch (Boston, Mass); Venues

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Communities in music; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Music audiences; Music business; Music fans.; Music--Economic aspects.; Music--Instruction and study.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Practicing (Music); Songs.

00:40:52 - Beginning to play bluegrass

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Partial Transcript: And I became friends with a mandolin player, Joe Val.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about meeting Joe Val, which led to his working with Bill Monroe. He talks about how he transitioned from playing rock 'n' roll to playing bluegrass, mostly under the tutelage of Val.

Keywords: 1960; Bill Keith (Artist); Bill Monroe (Artist); Bluesky Boys (Artist); Carter Stanley (Artist); Flatt, Lester (Artist); Gospel music; Harmony singing; Jim Rooney (Artist); Joe Val (Artist); Keith, Bill (Artist); Learning to play; Lester Flatt (Artist); Louvin Brothers (Artist); Mandolin players; Mentors; Monroe Brothers (Artist); Monroe, Bill (Artist); Rock 'n' roll; Rooney, Jim (Artist); Stanley, Carter (Artist); Teaching; Val, Joe (Artist)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Music fans.; Music--Instruction and study.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Practicing (Music); Songs.

00:46:21 - Musical and social environment of the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: Um, so this is all about '59, I guess, '60.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about the social climate of the 1960s, including McCarthyism and the Vietnam War. He talks about the dichotomy of the anti-communist feeling in America contrasted with the folk scene of Harvard Square. He talks about the protest movements of the sixties.

Keywords: 1960s; Blues; Capitalism; Civil rights marches; Club 47 (Venue); Communism; Conservatism; Culture; Exposure; Gospel music; Harmony singing; Harvard Square; Harvard University; Indo-China War; Joseph McCarthy (U.S. Senator); Liberal; McCarthy, Joseph (U.S. Senator); McCarthyism; Military industrial complex; Music scene; Nuclear threats; Pete Seeger (Artist); Protest movements; Protest songs; Record stores; Ronald "Jack" Washington (Artist); Rush, Tom (Artist); Seeger, Pete (Artist); Slang; Social ideas; Teachers; Terms; Tom Rush (Artist); Vietnam War; Washington, Ronald "Jack" (Artist)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Communities in music; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Music audiences; Music fans.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

00:56:07 - Joining Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys

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Partial Transcript: So out of that matrix, you know, of, of music and, uh, social ideas, I kind of--

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about the culture of New England and how he came to be interested in bluegrass despite not being from the South. He talks about how he came to begin playing with Bill Monroe via Bill Keith (who had to be called Brad Keith when playing with Bill Monroe). He talks about how Bill Monroe was not particularly popular at the time, and discusses how an article calling him "the father of bluegrass" changed his status. He describes Monroe's personality and attitude.

Keywords: "Father of bluegrass"; Arthel "Doc" Watson (Artist); Attitudes; Beats; Bill Keith (Artist); Bill Monroe (Artist); Blacklisting; Brad Keith (Artist); Cultural background; Culture; Elvis Presley (Artist); Folk scene; Guitar players; Jim Rooney (Artist); Keith & Rooney (Artist); Keith and Rooney (Artist); Keith, Bill (Artist); Keith, Brad (Artist); Mandolin players; Mike Seeger (Artist); Monroe, Bill (Artist); Musical styles; New England; North; Northeast; Obscurity; Personality; Pete Seeger (Artist); Philosophy; Presley, Elvis (Artist); Ralph Rinzler (Artist); Rhythm; Rinzler, Ralph (Artist); Rooney, Jim (Artist); Seeger, Mike (Artist); Seeger, Pete (Artist); South; Traditional music scene; Transcendentalism; Turning points; Watson, Arthel “Doc” (Artist)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Communities in music; Country music.; Music audiences; Music fans.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

01:09:16 - Becoming Bill Monroe's manager / Nashville music culture of the 1960s

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Partial Transcript: Uh, he asked me to--or told me actually.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about the music scene in Nashville during the 1960s. He talks about what it was like to be Bill Monroe's manager, booking shows for him around Nashville. He talks about how bluegrass was not very popular in Nashville at the time and the difficulty of booking shows. He talks about drinking in the music scene and Monroe's opinion of it.

Keywords: 1960s; 1963; Acuff, Roy (Artist); Alcohol; Appearances; Attitudes; Beecher Ray "Bashful Brother Oswald" Kirby (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Booking; Bradley's Barn; Bradley, Owen (Artist); Civil rights; Clement, Jack (Artist); Concerts; Culture; Debates; Diaries; Drinking; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Gigs; Grand Ole Opry (Radio program); Guitar players; Hiring; Jack Clement (Artist); Kirby, Beecher Ray "Bashful Brother Oswald" (Artist); Mac Wiseman (Artist); Managers; Money; Moonshine; Names; Nashville (Tenn.); Nelson, Willy (Artist); Obscure; Owen Bradley (Artist); Payment; Popularity; Preaching; Radio friendly; Ralph Rinzler (Artist); Recording; Respect; Rinzler, Ralph (Artist); Roy Acuff (Artist); Ryman Auditorium; Salaries; Salary; Scotty Stoneman (Artist); Segregation; Shows; South; Stars; Stoneman, Scotty (Artist); Tootsies (bar); Touring; Tours; Vietnam War; Wages; Willy Nelson (Artist); Wiseman, Mac (Artist)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Communities in music; Country music.; Music audiences; Music fans.; Music icons; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

01:27:50 - Relationship with Bill Monroe--Part I

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Partial Transcript: Well, I mean this se--seems like a really rich topic to go into.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan describes his early relationship with Bill Monroe. He talks about their conversations and says that Monroe was generally a private person. He talks about how Monroe did not pay him for a long period of time and how he believes this was meant to teach him to stand up for himself. He talks about Monroe's subtle ways of trying to control his Blue Grass Boys. He tells stories about incidents which made Monroe feel negatively about him, including losing a guitar and booking a show for the Blue Grass Boys at a seedy venue called the Black Poodle Lounge. He talks about Monroe's personality and attitude, and sings a song he wrote which was inspired by Bill Monroe, called "Let the Harvest Go To Seed."

Keywords: "Father of bluegrass"; "Hard knocks"; Attitudes; Bean Blossom Festival, Indiana; Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Black Poodle Lounge (Venue); Control; Conversations; Drivers; Embry, Mark (Artist); Family; Farms; Grand Ole Opry (Radio program); Image; Influences; Isolated; James Monroe (Artist); Jealousy; Job descriptions; Julia LaBella (Artist); LaBella, Julia (Artist); Legacy; Let the Harvest Go to Seed (Song); Mark Embry (Artist); Mentors; Mistresses; Money; Monroe, Bill (Artist); Monroe, James (Artist); Naive; Off stage; On stage; Osborne, Sonny (Artist); Payment; Persona; Personal life; Personality; Plowing; Popularity; Private; Relationships; Salaries; Salary; Silence; Sonny Osborne (Artist); Stolen guitar; Subtle; Taking advantage of; Talking; Teaching; Unpaid; Voices; Wages; Walls of Time (Song); Wary

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Music audiences; Music business; Music fans.; Music--Economic aspects.; Music--Instruction and study.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

01:47:25 - Decline in popularity of bluegrass music / Influences of and on bluegrass

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Partial Transcript: So, you know, I c--I didn't have any power in the business to book him anywhere he didn't already have...

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about younger audiences' interest in bluegrass in the 1960s. He talks about how success in the bluegrass world does not necessarily translate to other genres and talks about how the record companies were not interested in his bluegrass work after leaving Bill Monroe. He talks about the influence of bluegrass on other genres, and the influence of other genres on bluegrass. He talks about the importance of emotion in bluegrass.

Keywords: Banjos; Buffalo Springfield (Artist); Decline; Earth Opera (Artist); Emotions; Feelings; Influences; Jamaica; Limitations; Mary John Wilkins (Artist); Musical styles; Outsiders; Popularity; Publishers; Record companies; Sound; Style; Vietnam War; Wilkins, Mary John (Artist); Young audiences

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Music audiences; Music business; Music fans.; Music--Economic aspects.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

01:55:54 - Writing "Walls of Time" with Bill Monroe

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Partial Transcript: Well, what you played with Bill wasn't, uh--there was very little of your writing in there.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about his developing relationship with Bill Monroe, who slowly began to open up to him. He talks about how they began writing a song together which became "Walls of Time." He talks about influences on the song, including the book "Wuthering Heights" and Monroe's own song, "Memories of Mother and Dad." He talks about publishing credit for the song, which he did not receive.

Keywords: Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Blues; Buses; Charlie Monroe (Artist); Cowriting; Credit; Drivers; Driving; Family; Gothic tradition; Graves; Influences; It's Love (Song); Jimmy Martin (Artist); Learning to play; Martin, Jimmy (Artist); Memories Of Mother & Dad (Song); Memories Of Mother and Dad (Song); Monroe, Bill (Artist); Monroe, Charlie (Artist); Musical styles; My Last Days on Earth (Song); Nature; New Orleans (La.); Opening up; Personality; Psyche; Publishing; Questions; Relationships; Roots; Slow drag; Songwriters; Songwriting; Sound; Style; Talking; Talks; Walls of Time (Song); Wayfaring Stranger (Song); Writing process; Wuthering Heights (Book)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Lyric writing (Popular music); Music business; Music--Instruction and study.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Popular music--Writing and publishing.; Songs.

02:17:31 - Writing "It's Love" (aka "My Last Days on Earth") with Bill Monroe

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Partial Transcript: So you said there were two songs.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan briefly mentions the other song he wrote with Bill Monroe. Monroe performed it as an instrumental, "My Last Days on Earth," to which Rowan wrote lyrics and called it, "It's Love."

Keywords: Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); House of New Orleans (Song); It's Love (Song); Monroe, Bill (Artist); Musical styles; My Last Days on Earth (Song); Song lyrics; Songwriters; Songwriting; Sound; Style; Teaching

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Lyric writing (Popular music); Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Popular music--Writing and publishing.; Records.; Songs.; Sound recordings.; Sound--Recording and reproducing

02:21:29 - Bill Monroe's "new music"

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Partial Transcript: So, how much did this have to do with you leaving the band?

Segment Synopsis: Rowan briefly talks about rumors of why he left Bill Monroe's band. He talks about how he felt about not singing lead in the recording sessions. He talks about Bill Monroe telling people he was mulling over a new type of music, but he was very secretive about what type of music it was. He later told people that Rowan was playing "his new music."

Keywords: "New music"; Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Cher (Artist); Electric guitars; Grier, Lamar (Artist); Guitar players; Harry Silverstein; James Monroe (Artist); Lamar Grier (Artist); Lead singers; Leaving; Lewis, Wayne (Artist); Los Angeles (Calif.); Monroe, Bill (Artist); Monroe, James (Artist); Music stores; Musical styles; Ozark Rag (Song); Phil Spector; Publishing; Record stores; Recording sessions; Silverstein, Harry; Singing; Sons; Sound; Spector, Phil; Style; Wayne Lewis (Artist)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Communities in music; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Music audiences; Music business; Music fans.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

02:30:43 - Rehearsals with Bill Monroe

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Partial Transcript: I remember I would call rehearsals.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan describes what rehearsals were like with Bill Monroe. Rowan would call the rehearsals and Monroe would attend, but would not play with the band. At the end of the session, Monroe would teach them some new technique or style.

Keywords: Dissonance; Learning to play; Money; Notes; Payment; Rhythmic; Royalties; Salaries; Salary; Schottische; Techniques; Tuning; Wages

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Music rehearsals.; Music--Instruction and study.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Practicing (Music); Songs.

02:38:08 - Recording sessions with Bill Monroe--Part I

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Partial Transcript: S, so, about the recording, I think it'd be fun to talk about that a little bit.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about the recording sessions he was part of with Bill Monroe. He talks about why they recorded certain songs, but not the songs he wrote with Monroe. He talks about not singing lead on the recordings, which was instead done by Bill's son James.

Keywords: African American gospel; Barbara Allen (Song); Baritone singers; Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Black gospel; Decca Records; Duets; Guitar players; Harmonies; Harmony singing; Influences; James Monroe (Artist); Lead singers; Midnight on the Stormy Deep (Song); Monroe, Bill (Artist); Monroe, James (Artist); Musical styles; Recording sessions; Repertoire; Runs; Song arrangement; Song choices; Sound; Style; Walls of Time (Song); Wayfaring Stranger (Song)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Music fans.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Records.; Songs.; Sound recordings.; Sound studios; Sound--Recording and reproducing

02:46:59 - Leaving Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys

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Partial Transcript: So can we de, debunk, uh, what might be a myth is that, uh, Bill was somehow really upset with you and didn't want you to be featured on the album...

Segment Synopsis: Rowan discusses rumors of why he left Bill Monroe's band. He talks about his last show with Monroe and the trick Monroe often pulled on band members who were leaving.

Keywords: Attitudes; Band members; Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Dropping his pick; James Monroe (Artist); Jealousy; Last shows; Lead singers; Leaving; Monroe, Bill (Artist); Monroe, James (Artist); Notice; Personality; Rivalry; Rumors; Tricks

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

02:51:05 - Members of the Blue Grass Boys

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Partial Transcript: Bill would so often play with just studio, uh, session guys.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan discusses former members of the Blue Grass Boys and the members during his tenure with the band. He talks about the high turnover rate in the band.

Keywords: Band members; Buses; Don Lineberger (Artist); Drivers; Driving; Gene Lowinger (Artist); Greene, Richard (Artist); Grier, Lamar (Artist); James Monroe (Artist); Lamar Grier (Artist); Lineberger, Don (Artist); Lowinger, Gene (Artist); Monroe, James (Artist); Richard Greene (Artist); Turnover rates

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

02:54:15 - Recording sessions with Bill Monroe--Part II

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Partial Transcript: How, how was the recording?

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks more about the recording sessions he was part of. He talks about the songs they recorded, as well as the songs recorded with Bill Monroe by other famous Blue Grass Boys, including Flatt and Scruggs and Jimmy Martin. He talks about live recordings of other songs that Monroe would not officially record with him.

Keywords: Band members; Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Duets; Epochs; Eras; Live recordings; Monroe, Bill (Artist); Multi-tracking; Recording sessions; Statement; Takes

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Music business; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Records.; Songs.; Sound recordings.; Sound studios; Sound--Recording and reproducing

02:57:25 - Relationship with Bill Monroe--Part II

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Partial Transcript: Well, what happened also was that because a lot of the new audience was my age...

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about connecting with the younger audiences with songs like "Cold Rain and Snow," which Bill Monroe refused to play. He talks about Monroe's attitude about his Blue Grass Boys and loyalty. He describes Monroe's personality and attitude, saying that he liked friction. He talks about why Monroe wore white shirts when performing as a mark of respect. He talks about Monroe performing as his guest on a show in his later years and how their relationship changed over time.

Keywords: "Fiddling" Tex Logan (Artist); Attitudes; Band members; Cold Rain & Snow (Song); Cold Rain and Snow (Song); College students; Concerts; Del McCoury (Artist); Disloyalty; Earle, Steve (Artist); Elderly; Farmers; Flatt and Scruggs (Artist); Frail; Friction; Friendships; Garcia, Jerry (Artist); Gigs; Grand Ole Opry (Radio program); Greene, Richard (Artist); Grier, Lamar (Artist); Influences; Jerry Garcia (Artist); Lamar Grier (Artist); Legacies; Legacy; Logan, “Fiddling” Tex (Artist); Love; McCoury, Del (Artist); Older; Personality; Relationships; Respect; Rhythm; Richard Greene (Artist); Shows; Sideman; Sidemen; Sitting in; Song requests; State of mind; Steve Earle (Artist); Walls of Time (Song); White shirts; Wintergrass Music Festival; Young audiences

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Music audiences; Music fans.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

03:14:39 - Creation of the first bluegrass festivals

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Partial Transcript: Well, uh, Joe tells me he has gotten some stories about Fincastle but it might be nice to spend just a little time...

Segment Synopsis: Rowan discusses the inception of bluegrass festivals by Carlton Haney. He talks about the shift in popularity of bluegrass at this time. He talks about how he was tasked with convincing Bill Monroe to join the bluegrass festival scene. He talks about how the first bluegrass festival became a reunion of former Blue Grass Boys and discusses Monroe's feelings about his former side men. He talks about how Bean Blossom changed as it became more popular and how Monroe did not like the new crowds it drew.

Keywords: "Bluegrass story"; "Father of bluegrass"; 1965; Albums; Attitudes; Baker, Kenny (Artist); Bean Blossom Festival, Indiana; Benny Martin (Artist); Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Carlton Haney; Carter Stanley (Artist); Changes; Crowds; Dancing; Distrust; Don Reno (Artist); Fincastle (Va.); Flatt and Scruggs (Artist); Folk revival; Gospel music; Growth; Haney, Carlton; Hippies; Intelligentsia; Jimmy Martin (Artist); Kenny Baker (Artist); Lean times; Lyle, Rudy (Artist); Martin, Benny (Artist); Martin, Jimmy (Artist); Mike Seeger (Artist); Monroe, Bill (Artist); Newport Folk Festival; Osborne, Sonny (Artist); Personality; Popularity; Promoters; Ralph Rinzler (Artist); Reno & Smiley (Artist); Reno and Smiley (Artist); Reno, Don (Artist); Reunions; Rinzler, Ralph (Artist); Rivalries; Rivalry; Rudy Lyle (Artist); Seeger, Mike (Artist); Sonny Osborne (Artist); South; Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys, the (Artist); Stanley, Carter (Artist); Staunton (Va.); The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys (Artist)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass festivals; Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Communities in music; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Music audiences; Music business; Music fans.; Music festivals.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

03:28:46 - Old & In the Way

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Partial Transcript: Well, uh, another topic I think is you are a Blue Grass Boy.

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about the formation of the band Old & In the Way through his friendship with David Grisman who led him to Jerry Garcia. He talks about the other members of the band and how they came to join. He talks about how this band allowed them to play music they enjoyed and gave them a sense of freedom. He talks about Vassar Clements as a mentor to himself and many other musicians.

Keywords: 1970; Accomplishments; Amram, David (Artist); Attitudes; Band members; Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Childhood; Chubby Wise (Artist); Clements, Vassar (Artist); Continuity; Contributions; Crowds; David Amram (Artist); David Grisman (Artist); Entertainment; Fiddle players; Fiddlers; Flatpicking; Freedom; Garcia, Jerry (Artist); Great Depression; Greene, Richard (Artist); Grisman, David (Artist); Hartford, John (Artist); Influences; Jerry Garcia (Artist); Jimmy Martin (Artist); John Hartford (Artist); Joy; Martin, Jimmy (Artist); Mentors; Monroe, Bill (Artist); Muleskinner (Artist); Muleskinner Blues (Song); Old & In the Way (Artist); Old and In the Way (Artist); Picking; Proximity; Richard Greene (Artist); Roots; Rual Yarbrough (Artist); Rules; Stinson Beach (Calif.); Teaching; Vassar Clements (Artist); Wise, Chubby (Artist); Yarbrough, Rual (Artist)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Music audiences; Music fans.; Music--Instruction and study.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

03:41:01 - Influence and legacy of bluegrass

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Partial Transcript: So, um, where were we?

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about Bill Monroe's legacy and his interest in the survival of bluegrass. He talks about how he himself is interested in the expansion of bluegrass in terms of subject matter, away from the traditions of bluegrass. He talks about these future possibilities.

Keywords: "His music"; "My music"; Bean Blossom Festival, Indiana; Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Bluegrass concerts; Conducting; Control; Expression; Graveyard music; Influences; Jam sessions; Legacies; Legacy; Limitations; Meaning; Messages; Monroe, Bill (Artist); Musical styles; Possibilities; Sound; Subject matter; Voices

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.

03:48:36 - Muleskinner

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Partial Transcript: Well my--yeah, our deal in Muleskinner was, uh--

Segment Synopsis: Rowan talks about the formation of the band Muleskinner, which was originally supposed to be a reunion of Blue Grass Boys with Bill Monroe. Monroe could not make it to the show and the former Blue Grass Boys played together alone. He talks about the album they recorded together and how they chose the material. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Albums; Bill Keith (Artist); Bill Monroe (Artist); Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (Artist); Clarence White (Artist); David Grisman (Artist); Earth Opera (Artist); Electric guitars; Fun; Greene, Richard (Artist); Grisman, David (Artist); Keith, Bill (Artist); Management; Managers; Material; Monroe, Bill (Artist); Muleskinner (Artist); Old & In the Way (Artist); Old and In the Way (Artist); Reunions; Richard Greene (Artist); Seatrain (Artist); Television; Walls of Time (Song); White, Clarence (Artist)

Subjects: Bands (Music); Bluegrass music.; Bluegrass musicians; Country music.; Folk music.; Folk songs.; Music--Performance.; Music.; Musical ability.; Musical groups.; Musical performance; Musicians; Old-time music.; Songs.