Famed songman set for single show Friday in Dungeness
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Autoharpist Bryan Bowers comes to the Dungeness Schoolhouse for a concert, with Cort Armstrong and Jim Faddis opening, this Friday.

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

DUNGENESS — Bryan Bowers, a man known across the country for his music-making and storytelling, will come out to the Dungeness Schoolhouse for a single concert Friday night.

“I have known Bryan for several years, and the last time I saw him, I told him, 'If you ever get out anywhere near Sequim or Port Angeles, maybe we could put a show on,'” said Jim Faddis, a veteran musician who lives near Sequim.

So Bowers, who has a gig this weekend in the Tacoma area, called Faddis and took him up on the offer.

Show time is 7 p.m. Friday at the historic schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road, and tickets will be available for $10 only at the door.

Faddis and Cort Armstrong, another local singer-guitarist, will open the concert.

Autoharp performer

Bowers specializes in old-fashioned American folk music on the autoharp. But he takes his performances to another level, Faddis said, through his interaction with his listeners.

“He's a great entertainer,” said Faddis. “He's played festivals all over the place,” and released two fistfuls of albums, including “The View from Home” on the Flying Fish label in 1977 and “September in Alaska” on Seattle Sounds in 2007.

“He plays standard folk tunes like 'Little Liza Jane,' but on his last CD, he included the Shirelles' old hit 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,'” Faddis noted.

“One of my favorites of his is a song called 'Friend for Life,' and I am hoping that maybe we can do that one together on Friday night.”

Bowers sums up his philosophy like this:

“I want to have a good time, and I want people to have a good time — no 'woe is me' trip. I want the joy of bringing people together and communicating. . . .

“If I can say it like I see it, I can bring happiness.”

As a boy in Virginia, Bowers was introduced to the old call-and-response songs of the field workers and gandy dancers; his love runs deep for music from the country.

After attending college, he migrated from the guitar to the autoharp, and was discovered by the American bluegrass band the Dillards, which in turn introduced him to a much larger audience.

Since then, Bowers has been inducted into Frets magazine's First Gallery of the Greats alongside Chet Atkins, David Grisman, Stephane Grappelli, Itzhak Perlman, Tony Rice, Rob Wasserman and Mark O'Connor.

New Musical Express is another magazine in which a writer hailed Bowers' sound as “positively celestial . . . completely unforced, a phenomenon unlike anything I've seen.”

In 2011, Bowers released “Crabby Old Man,” a recording free of things like overdubbing and compression.

It sounds like Bowers is playing in your living room for just you and your friends, Faddis said.

Down home

Friday's concert will be a down-home affair, too. Faddis and Armstrong will begin the evening with “a little blues, a little bluegrass, a little folk and Americana, plus some original material.

“I don't know exactly what's on the set list yet,” Faddis added, “but it will include tunes from the Stanley Brothers, the Rev. Gary Davis, Guy Clark and maybe some Merle Haggard thrown in for good measure.”

To find out more about the Dungeness Schoolhouse show, phone Faddis at 360-797-4598.

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Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 12. 2012 5:53PM
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