2023 Festival Performer

Ralston Bowles

Ralston Bowles’s father played the fiddle, guitar and banjo in the Appalachia hills before he moved to Gary, Indiana, to work the steel mills. Ralston's first professional job was at the age of 16 when he was asked to make up one of his story songs for a neighborhood party. After graduation he found himself playing in clubs and coffeehouses throughout the Midwest, making up songs about the people and places he visited. His songs have been performed and recorded by Caroline Aiken, Peter Mulvey and Rachael Davis. He has received awards and recognition from American Songwriter Magazine, NSAI/CMT, Unisong, the International Song Competition and Mountain Stage New Song, among many others. As a Kerrville New Folk finalist, he even found himself opening for such artists as Shawn Colvin, T-Bone Burnett and Arlo Guthrie.

His first recording, "Carwreck Conversations," was produced with Marvin Etzioni and earned him triple Jammy Awards locally and recognition as best musician in West Michigan by Grand Rapids magazine. It also led him to his first commercial release through Judy Collins’ Wildflower Records. His second album Rally at the Texas Hotel also won best album of the year and features a duet with Bob Dylan band leader, Charlie Sexton. He has become a bi-annual favorite at Boston's Club Passim. He first came to Italy 4 years ago to participate in a Townes Van Zandt Tribute night in Milan at Casa 139 with a number of world traveled musicians celebrating the Texas songwriter. Ralston’s newest album “Little Miracles” features 35 musicians, all of them top-drawer players was produced by band leader for Emmy Lou Harris, Phil Madeira. Ralston recorded his parts while in the midst of chemotherapy treating colon cancer. Tracks were recorded in numerous states and assembled in Nashville. He is currently in remission and glad to be back out playing again after a long two year break.

• SAT - 5:50-6:35
Performer Website