Proud to be an All-Star.
There is no music like Michigan Music.
"For whatever you think of me, any thought you might allow
I am not who I would like to be, it’s just who I am right now”
-“Fragile,” Ralston Bowles
For years, Ralston Bowles has been the singer-songwriter that many aspiring musical artists would like to be.
As the widely acknowledged “godfather” of West Michigan’s acoustic music scene and champion of the Great Lakes State’s prodigious folk community, Bowles also has led by example: Over the past decade, he’s released three highly praised and nationally acclaimed Americana studio albums (“Carwreck Conversations,” “Rally at the Texas Hotel” and “Little Miracles”) while touring the United States and Europe.
With a musical demeanor that’s part James McMurtry, part Bob Dylan and part Steve Earle, Bowles has performed and/or toured with Walter Trout, T Bone Burnett, Lucy Kaplansky, Arlo Guthrie, Dan Hicks, Richard Shindell, Carrie Newcomer, Michelle Shocked, Andy White and many others.
He’s been feted by legendary singer Judy Collins, had his compelling songs covered by a host of Americana’s rising stars, including Peter Mulvey and Amy Speace, attracted a who’s who of guest stars on a solo album recorded by Phil Madeira in Nashville, and hosted 10 seasons of the Tuesday Evening Music Club outdoor concert series at the world-class Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.
A past Kerrville New Folk Competition finalist, Bowles has earned multiple album-of-the-year awards in his hometown. Not surprisingly, with his arsenal of funny, poignant and deeply moving songs, Bowles also has been asked to contribute to a host of different national music compilations over the years.
And through a battle with colon cancer, and the ups and downs of the always-fickle music business, he’s continued to push the envelope with his music and his desire to raise the profile of fellow Americana artists as a tireless proponent of musical collaboration and community-building.
"It's finding ways to give,” Bowles says. "If you write from the perspective of where you're at, you’re going to hit people where they're at. If you give away things of who you are and you contribute to community, community will contribute back to you. I'm a firm believer in that."
The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond.