After six decades playing music, Grammy-winning bluegrass troubadour Peter Rowan has established himself as a master in the tradition of country songwriters like Hank Williams, whose Luke the Drifter character inspired his forthcoming album, Calling You From My Mountain, out June 24th on Rebel Records. With the first single off the album, “The Song That Made Hank Williams Dance” featuring Shawn Camp, Rowan offers a taste of his latest work, which includes additional guest appearances by Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Lindsay Lou, and more.
Calling You From My Mountain is a reflection of Rowan’s long commitment to American roots music. Featuring an inter-generational lineup that honors the long tradition of which he is a living part, the album began as an homage to his favorite Hank Williams LP.
“When I left Nashville in 1990, the only country music album I had, besides one Ernest Tubb record, was Hank Williams Sings Luke the Drifter,” he explained. “So, I listened to that all the time on my little turntable, and I just loved that Hank had an alternate ego who was himself but the sentimental-songs-with-a-message side.”
After writing an entire album of songs inspired by Luke the Drifter, Rowan’s plans to record in Nashville were disrupted by the pandemic. Instead, he stayed in California among the canyons and coastal landscape as he rehearsed traditional songs, which gave way to new compositions, and soon enough, he had laid the groundwork for Calling You From My Mountain.
“I included one of the songs I wrote from the Luke the Drifter album, ‘Dream of Heaven’,” he said. “By doing that, I started to find my own voice again as to what I really wanted to say on this record. The companion song to that is ‘The Red, the White and the Blue’, where I wrote ‘I remember, I remember, I remember you / The red, the white and the blue,’ which to me is like a Carter Family type of approach with Molly Tuttle singing the harmony and playing banjo and Shawn Camp on guitar.”
In the first single off the album, “The Song That Made Hank Williams Dance”, Peter Rowan imagines the fickle temptresses who might have served as inspiration for the lovelorn protagonists portrayed in Williams’s songs.
“This chorus appeared to me in a dream one glorious April at my tin-roofed Texas casita,” he said. “Singer, songwriter, guitar picker Shawn Camp hails from Alabama as did Hank Williams. Shawn, he’s a natural for this song. And a big inspiration! We had some fun!”
Listen to “The Song That Made Hank Williams Dance” in the player below, and stay tuned for the release of Calling You From My Mountain, out June 24th on Rebel Records.
Peter Rowan – “The Song That Made Hank Williams Dance”