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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: Dr. Demento 20th Anniversary Collection

Disc 1

1. Delicious!

2. The Scotsman

3. Junk Food Junkie

4. Eat It

5. Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour (On The Bedpost Overnight)

7. Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah! (A Letter From Camp)

9. The Purple People Eater

10. Monster Mash

11. Cocktails For Two

12. Transfusion

13. Beep Beep

14. St. George And The Dragonet

16. Gitarzan

17. Earache My Eye

Disc 2

1. Dancin' Fool

2. Star Trekkin'

4. Masochism Tango

5. The Homecoming Queen's Got A Gun

7. The Battle Of Kookamonga

9. Der Fuehrer's Face

10. Fish Heads

11. Poisoning Pigeons In The Park

12. Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take The Garbage Out

14. Surfin' Bird

x

Track List: Warehouse Tracks: Ten Years

1. There's A Rainbow Over The Range

3. Santa Rosa

4. Billy Gray

5. Warehouse Opus 36

6. Dog

7. Whole Load

9. Cattle Call

10. Don't Tell Me

12. I Will Miss Ireland

13. Leaving Stoer

14. The Raven

15. Red River Valley

Comments

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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