Earth Opera

Decades: 1960s 2000s


Formed in Boston, New England, USA, in 1967, Earth Opera revolved around Peter Rowan (4 July 1942, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; vocals, guitar) and David Grisman (b. 1945, Hackensack, New Jersey, USA; mandocello, mandolin). Both were veterans of the bluegrass and old-time circuit; Rowan with Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys and the Mother State Bay Entertainers, and Grisman as leader of the New York Ramblers and a member of the Even Dozen Jug Band. The two musicians worked as a duo, performing Rowan’s original songs, before adding John Nagy (bass) and Bill Stevenson (keyboards, vibes). Earth Opera was produced by fellow folk music associate Peter Siegel, who shared an unerring empathy with the material. Rowan’s lyrical, highly visual compositions were enhanced by his unusual, expressive tenor, particularly on the graphic ‘Death By Fire’ and ‘The Child Bride’. Elsewhere the material reflected the questioning rootlessness prevalent in...

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