Robert Bowlin


Originally from Pocahontas, Arkansas, Robert Bowlin began his musical career playing ukulele at the age of two.  Primarily self-taught, he also picked up guitar chords and fiddle basics from his musical family and would play along with his family’s vast record collection.  His relationship with the piano began when he first climbed upon the piano bench and began pounding on the keys.  He took some lessons from his older sister then later had lessons at school and at the local college.  Eventually Bowlin graduated with a degree in composition from the University of Arkansas.


Today Robert Bowlin is an award winning American bluegrass and country musician.  In 1978, he took second place winner at the National Guitar Flat Pick Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS and the following year won first place in that festival’s Finger Style Guitar Championship.  More recently, in 2008, Bowlin won first place in the guitar and mandolin categories at the Uncle Dave Macon Days Festival in Murfreesboro, TN. He has worked as the side man for The Osborne Brothers, Kathy Mattea, Maura O’Connell, and Faron Young.  In the early 1980s, he appeared on Austin City Limits with Mattea and O’Connell.  In 1993, Bowlin joined Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys and regularly appeared on the Grand Ole Opry until Monroe’s death in 1996. He has also recorded and toured with such country acts as Tom T. Hall, Boxcar Willie, Hank Thompson, Ray Price, Bobby Bare and Ricky Van Shelton.  His solo CD Six String Soliloquy was released in 2007.


Robert Bowlin currently resides in Cobden, Illinois.  When not performing with singer-songwriter Wil Maring, he repairs violins, guitars, mandolins, and cellos in his home studio.