The story goes that as Benjamin Franklin was leaving the final session of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked him, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a monarchy or a republic?” Without hesitation, Franklin replied: “A republic, madam — if you can keep it.”
It was exactly eight years this month when I first met Peter Rowan. I was 21 and on my first feature assignment as a wet-behind-the-ears journalist still in college. The Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, Massachusetts was our rendezvous point. I sat in that old basement green room, Rowan laid out across a musty couch, as we talked about the magic of music and performance.