BMI’s database credits Peter Rowan with 343 published compositions, co-compositions, and arrangements including:


“Land of the Navajo”

“The Light in Carter Stanley’s Eyes”

“Midnight Moonlight”

“Panama Red”

“That High Lonesome Sound”

“The Walls of Time”

Early Influences

Early influences:

Parents John D. and Elizabeth R. Rowan (both played piano and sang)

Uncle (who played guitar)

Hayloft Jamboree

Elvis Presley

Buddy Holly

Chuck Berry

Lightnin’ Hopkins

Eric von Schmidt

Joan Baez

Lilly Brothers and Don Stover

Joe Val

Bill Monroe

From the Archives

“I have never considered leaving any form of music for another form of music because I had a better offer. I have only gone from one form of music to another because I was looking to try and start something new. Or I was just following my heart. When I left Monroe, I had no offer whatsoever for anything. I left Bill Monroe because . . . when you work that closely with a man of his intensity and genius, who demands you do exactly what he wants, it makes you aware of whatever capabilities you have in yourself in that same direction, that same intensity. So, after two years of really—’He’s the boss’ . . . I was 24 and I said to myself ‘Hey, I’ll be the boss, I’ll try it my own self’.” Quoted by Jeff Harrison in “Pete Rowan: Master of Many Styles,” Pickin’, July 1979.
Quoted by Jeff Harrison in “Pete Rowan: Master of Many Styles,” Pickin’, July 1979.
“Am I lucky? Good God! I go to Jamaica, work with all these guys who worked with Bob Marley, who were on all the classic reggae you’ve ever heard . . . And I come back here, and play with Tony Rice! . . . I got the luck of the draw, somewhere along the line.”
Quoted by Carline Wright in “Living in a Musical Moment,” Bluegrass Now, January 2002
“I was very, very moved by Carter Stanley. I remember, one day, we were in North Carolina and Carter called Bill [Monroe] and wanted to have him come up to Virginia. Bill and I went up there, and Carter met us and was standing by an area that had just been cleared . . . He was in his late thirties when I met him, but he had the look of a man who had lived a hundred years or a hundred lifetimes . . . He talked to me directly and he looked me over. I kind of got a little nod of approval, I think. That’s my fantasy, anyway. He looked at me like they do and said, ‘Well, all right,’ which means, ‘You’re okay.’ They just look at you and go, ‘Well, all right, son.’ And that’s the feeling I got from Carter Stanley. He gave me the look.”
Quoted by Derek Halsey in “Exploring the Haunting Graveyard Sounds of Bluegrass,” Bluegrass Unlimited, July 2011.