Spencer Bohren, Biography
SPENCER BOHREN MASTER OF AMERICAN FOLK MUSIC
Born into a gospel-singing family in the wind-swept prairies and Rocky Mountains of Wyoming in 1950, Spencer Bohren began singing and playing music as a young boy. At the age of fourteen, inspired by the folk music he heard on the radio, Spencer picked up a guitar and within a few weeks started performing in public. The next few years found Spencer delving deeply into America’s treasure of blues, country, gospel and folk music, soaking up guitar styles and historical details from hundreds of sources, both popular and obscure. He played with several rock, country and blues bands through the sixties and seventies, always touring and performing for an endless succession of audiences throughout the western states and along the west coast. In the mid-seventies, Spencer and his wife, Marilyn, left Boulder, Colorado, and found a spiritual home in the storied music city of New Orleans, starting their family there.
New Orleans had a profound effect on Spencer, musically and personally, and he quickly became a fixture on the local music scene with weekly gigs at the now- legendary Tipitina’s and the Old Absinthe Bar on Bourbon Street. As his reputation grew in the city, Spencer once again started touring, this time primarily in the southern U.S. Before long he made the daring decision to bring his family on the road so they could be together. For seven years the Bohren family traveled while Spencer performed in countless venues all around the United States, sharing his love of America’s music with his growing audience and singing his own original songs.
In 1983, Spencer initiated a long and notable recording career with his first album, Born in a Biscayne, featuring keyboard wizard Doctor John on piano, organ and vocals. Fifteen recordings later, his most recent album, Black Water Music, features all Spencer Bohren originals. The Blues According to Hank Williams, pays homage to another of Spencer’s perennial favorites. His Long Black Line, a musical reportage of post-Katrina New Orleans, provided the soundtrack for that great city’s recovery process. Most recently, Spencer released an all-lapsteel CD. Entitled Tempered Steel, it answers the most-asked question at the sales table at concerts: Which CD has the most lapsteel?
European music lovers were quick to pick up on Spencer and his music once the recordings found their way across the Atlantic. Since 1984 he has performed over one hundred concert tours in nearly every country on the European continent. Spencer Bohren continues to celebrate the traditional music of America in concerts all over the world, and his original songs, excellent guitar work, atmospheric lapsteel playing and spellbinding stories assure that his enthusiastic audience will follow him into the future.