Bryan Bowers will bring to Carson City Saturday night his heralded story telling, song writing and musical skills.
They have been honed by a lifetime of laser beam interest in a rich tapestry of material, and will be on display for performing arts fans at the Brewery Arts Center.
The audience likely will be treated during his appearance in the Maize Harris Jesse Black Box Theater to Bowers’ autoharp renditions of the Beatles’ “Let It Be,” his own “Berkely Woman” — which both he and John Denver made part of the musical landscape — and his tribute to the Bristlecone pine of the Sierra Nevada range.
Bowers mentioned those, adding he also will feature newer material, during a pre-concert telephone interview from his home in the Northwest near Bellingham, Wash.
“I just live it,” Bowers said of his preparation, craftsmanship and performing style. “If I find a story I like, I tell it over and over again. The same with songs. I get a song that I think is great and I’ll sing it and sing it again and again, and soon it goes in the shows.”
It’s been like that since the first time the performer, a Virginia native now in his 70s, heard someone perform “Shady Grove” on the autopharp at a Jug Band party when he was young and playing guitar.
“I went out and bought one the next day,” he said. “The guitar fell by the wayside in a couple of weeks. Then I got crazy on it. I cared about little but the music I was playing. It was not a rational decision; it was totally emotionally driven.” Little seems to have changed in that regard in the intervening years, which counters a lazy streak about things that don’t interest him.
“I pick all the songs I dearly love,” said Bowers, “I have to love it or I won’t mess with it. When I do get fired up, I’m a laser beam.”
Bowers knows his way around a story or an anecdote, which is obvious from his short take on getting chosen for induction into the Autoharp Hall of Fame in 1993.
“I was excited until they told me I was the first ‘living’ member inducted,” he joked. “How strange is that?”
Not only did the late John Denver like and perform Bowers’ songs, but Waddie Mitchell of Cowboy Poetry/story telling fame enjoyed Bowers’ story telling, according to the master autoharp performer. He said Mitchell once called him a world class story teller. He said he has enjoyed working not only with Mitchell but others in the field as well.
People Magazine has called Bowers “the leading virtuoso on the autoharp” and credited him with “distinct gifts as a singer and song writer.”
Bowers will perform in the Black Box Theater, 449 W. King St., at 7 p.m. on Saturday. General admission is $20. Admission for seniors or military service people is $15; BAC members pay $10. Tickets are available via Breweryarts.org or in the Artisan Store at the BAC Black Box venue’s building on that southwest corner of King and Division streets.