John Bowman has a gift; he knows how to craft the beautiful. He grew and developed through playing and singing with the best: Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Alison Krauss and Union Station, The Isaacs, and The Boxcars. He earned a Grammy nomination with the Boxcars, and his recent solo album was Dove nominated.
His voice has developed into a tone that, while soothing and calm, strongly motivates. His instrumental mastery (guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bass) is very nearly legendary, and his song choices and arrangements create packages like finely wrapped Christmas gifts.
This is all how we now come to the release of Beautiful Ashes (Mountain Home Music Company, 12/11/2015). “This recording is a valuable part of the ministry God has entrusted me with,” Bowman said. “Every song has a special message for every listener whether they are believers or not.”
A bit country-ish, a bit bluegrass, a bit gospel, but mediated with the John Bowman touch. Lyrically we could think of it as life lessons. “Ashes” teaches a method for relieving the past. “Lies The Devil Told” brings reality to the bright shiny objects of life. How to face hard knocks by facing them head-on in “Let The Hard Times Roll.” Or remembering how special are our young ones in the Carter Stanley classic “Baby Girl.” And when all else seems to fail, there’s “The Reach Of His Hand.”
“Sweet River” is one of those very special songs— in the musical tradition of McCartney’s “Let it Be” and Dylan’s “When He Returns.” Just John and piano meditatively praying for God to break through that wall that separates. In some circles, a career building song. But in any event, not to be missed.
Beautiful Ashes is, likewise, a very special recording with songs presenting in a very special way. It’s not just the culmination of all John has learned as a singer and musician, but all he has learned and can teach about living.
1. Let the Hard Times Roll
3. Cold Day in Hell
4. Baby Girl
5. Caiaphas’ Blues
6. Sweet River
7. He’s Your River
8. Lies the Devil Told
9. They’re Holding Up the Ladder
10. Reach of His Hand
11. When My Travelin’ Days Are Over