Peter Rowan and Crucial Reggae (#1101)

A bluegrass legend plays reggae.

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What happens when you combine major bluegrass talent with the grooving sounds of reggae and Jamaican roots music? Peter Rowan and Crucial Reggae supply one interesting answer with this Jubilee performance, recorded at the 2005 Master Musicians Festival in Somerset.

Peter Rowan has built a reputation as one of the most original bluegrass musicians around through collaborations with legendary artists and a commitment to creating new sounds within the traditional framework of the form. After performing with Bill Monroe in the 1950s and ’60s, Rowan joined mandolin player David Grisman in 1967 in the folk-rock band Earth Opera. That band toured live and recorded—frequently opening for the Doors—until the early ’70s.

Since leaving Earth Opera, Rowan has been part of Seatrain, a rock-bluegrass-fusion unit whose records were produced by George Martin, and Old & In the Way, featuring Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Vassar Clements, and John Kahn, while also pursuing his own solo career.

Rowan’s latest project, Crucial Reggae, mixes the root elements of bluegrass and traditional Jamaican music to bring an innovative yet experienced approach to classic tunes from the annals of ska and reggae. The group’s Jubilee set features songs such as “Little Maggie” and “Cuckoo Bird.”