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Dave Rowe


Portland, Maine, USA


Hailing from the great state of Maine, yachtsman Dave Rowe, is a traveling troubadour—a singer-songwriter and interpreter of traditional and modern song—whose 35-year career has had him on stages all over the eastern seaboard and throughout America’s heartland.

Armed with a guitar, a dream, a quick wit, a soaring tenor voice, and the heart of an entertainer, he has enthralled audiences everywhere he’s gone, bringing them from raucous singalongs to laughter to tears and everything in between. 

In recent years, Dave began a new path, traveling the eastern continental US by boat, traveling the Great Loop, the Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, and waterways in between, and singing songs along the way. The Great Loop, which Dave completed for the first time in spring of 2020, is a 6,000-mile string of navigable waters from the east coast to the Great Lakes via the Hudson River and Erie Canal, down the inland rivers and canals of the heartland to the Gulf of Mexico, and around the Gulf and Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway up the East Coast.

While traveling the Florida Panhandle, the producers of ABC's America's Funniest Videos came into possession of a video of "the captain" in a lighthearted moment on stage and decided it needed to be on the show. With the boat safely docked in Pensacola, Florida, they flew Dave out to Los Angeles where his video placed second on the show, being narrowly pushed out of the top spot by a Canadian toddler who desperately wanted cake.

Future cruising plans will have him retracing favorite waterways that he discovered while looping and returning to spend some quality time enjoying the waterways of North America. As he has voyaged, Dave has been playing to new audiences from yacht clubs to water-side coffee houses, pubs, and taverns—making friends and fans along the way.

Dave’s music is handmade and heartfelt. It springs from deep roots borne out of the song traditions of Ireland and the British Isles, cultivated in the roots music of North America, and filtered through the musical sensibility of a classically-trained musician who is as at home directing a choir or wind ensemble as he is standing with his acoustic guitar in front of a large audience singing songs together. His original songs come from the heart of a poet and the soul of a maestro, examining subject matter as varied as Dave’s interests, from songs of the sea to historical sketches, from songs of abiding love to social commentary.

The path Dave Rowe took to music was probably unavoidable. Both of his parents were professional musicians—as were both of his grandfathers. Dave’s late father, Tom, was a founding member of the internationally-acclaimed folk trio, Schooner Fare. A lineage and pedigree of which Dave is proud, but to define his music through the lens of what came before would be a mistake. He’s made a name for himself not because of what his father achieved, but in spite of it.

There’s a risk of being pigeonholed when undertaking a similar path to a parent, a hurdle Dave has risen above time and again in his many years on the road and fifteen critically-acclaimed recordings, leading Sing Out! contributor and long-time WFDU radio host, Ron Olesko, to write of the younger Rowe, “To look at his youthful appearance, you would not suspect that Dave has 27 years of experience as a professional musician, but as soon as he takes the stage you can tell that this man is a consummate artist. Dave graces the stage and brings everyone under his spell. The son of the late Tom Rowe of Schooner Fare, Dave has folk music in his heart and soul. Based in Maine, I hope Dave will spend more time performing at venues throughout the country so others can discover the magic he creates.”

Dave’s journey aboard has taken him through twenty-four U.S. states and one Canadian province. His trusty guitar; his yacht, Stinkpot; and his first mate, Stacey have traveled well north of 12,000 nautical miles since first casting off in 2018 on this odyssey on the water and the stage. Dave has plans for a new recording project including some of the new music he has written aboard, including his song “A Toast to John Prine,” which ran up to #17 on the Folk Radio Charts when it was released on a sampler compilation in April 2020.

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