Peter Rowan and Thompson guitars go back to Winfield 1986 where Peter was introduced to Preston by a mutual friend Charles Sawtelle. A Thompson OM 42 was a one of the prize guitars offered for the fingerpicking Championship so Preston had a booth selling his guitars during the festival. One of the festival days Peter was strolling by and Preston called him over to show him the 000 42 model and as Preston recalls he never got it back. Charles Sawtelle helped negotiate a fair price and everyone walked away happy. Peter has played that guitar off and on for 31 years now. We are happy to say that many years later in 2011 when Preston returned to the guitar building business a deal was reached with Peter for a Brazilian Rosewood Dreadnought.
Thompson guitars is located in Sisters, Oregon and there is a small world connection among Peter, Thompson Guitars and the documentary, The Tao of Bluegrass: A Portrait of Peter Rowan. Preston and his partner Dan Stewart met Christine Funk when her film about Peter was shown the same weekend Peter played in Sisters, Oregon at The Belfry, which happens to be right next to the Thompson workshop.
The documentary highlights Peter’s musical career, art and spirituality and we have uploaded the trailer on our YouTube Channel for your viewing pleasure. This labor of “love of the music” took Christine about 10 years to finish and was featured at The Mill Valley Film Festival in 2013 to rave reviews. The audience was delighted to see some old footage of Peter in Seatrain from the 1970’s and with Bill Monroe on stage at the Grand Old Opry in the 60’s.
Christine was ready to move back to Oregon, where she grew up, realizing that Thompson guitars might be looking for someone that could wear many hats to keep the business growing. Her talent of producing commercials, bookkeeping and knowing the bluegrass music scene has provided many avenues for her, all while helping to put Thompson guitars back into circulation.
We are excited that Peter will be at Wintergrass in 2018. Preston will have a booth and Peter will be picking his Thompson between sets again just like 30 years ago.