Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

Earth Opera: Earth Opera/The Great American Eagle Tragedy

Barney Hoskyns, Uncut, September 2004

THE NAME suggested some frightful prog entity, but Earth Opera were essentially Boston bluegrassers Peter Rowan and David Grisman, a pair intent on chucking tradition out the window in favour of spacey, SF-flavoured psych-folk. Rowan’s affectless vocals and guitar combine with future Jerry Garcia pal Grisman’s mandolin and mandocello (plus low-key vibes, drums and more) on slow, sometimes ponderous songs. Neither 1968’s Earth Opera nor 1969’s slightly jollier The Great American Eagle Tragedy – its title track a ten-minute condemnation of the Vietnam war featuring John Cale – have dated awfully well.

Total word count of piece: 93


Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.