Music 10

Robert James Bowden

July 7, 1945 ~ February 25, 2024 (age 78) 78 Years Old

Robert Bowden Obituary

One of Brown County’s favorite troubadours has passed away. Robert James Bowden, better known to locals as Rob or Robbie, died February 25, 2024 at the IU Health Bloomington Hospital.

He was born on July 7, 1945 in Seattle, Washington to Robert and Ruth (Hegg) Bowden. His father, a Brown County native, was in the military service at the time of his birth.

Rob attended Nashville High School and Brown County High School graduating in 1963. He attended Indiana University and had a short stint in the U.S. Navy.

Robbie was a lifelong professional musician who loved sharing his music with everyone. Like his father, he took up the clarinet and played in the high school band. He changed to guitar in the mid 1960’s when Folk music and Rock & Roll were becoming popular. Rob went on to become an accomplished bass guitarist and a Country and Blues harmonica player.

Through the 1960’s until the present, he played in over 20 different bands in Indiana, parts of the South, Southwest, Colorado, Arizona, and California. He performed with some of those bands all over the United States. Rob was often invited to sit-in and record with other individuals due to his great voice and knowledge of lyrics and song structure.

Robbie was a virtual warehouse of musical trivia. He could tell you who recorded a certain song or when it was popular. He was also a classical music buff. He enjoyed participating in the local PBS radio program “Either Game”, where you called in to identify a certain piece of music and the composer. He was quite good at it.

Robbie was probably best known for his participation in the group The Stringbean String Band in the mid 1970’s, and the Slats Klug & Friends Project which produced “The Liars Bench” and “My Brown County Home” recordings and four other CDs in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Robbie will be missed by many and all who played and shared music with him. He was a kind and gentle soul with a great sense of humor and a wonderful smile.

Rob was proceeded in death by his parents, his brother Rick Bowden, his sister Laura (Bowden) Crandall. He is survived by his daughter, Erin Bowden of Indianapolis, and her mother, Deborah Bowden of Nashville, cousins, nieces, nephews, and an honorary brother and sister in song; Dave Gore and Stephanie Walker.

So, from Robbie to all of you… “Osmosis Amoebas.”

There will be a Celebration of Life on Sunday, April 28, 2024 at 2:30 pm at the Brown County Playhouse in Nashville, Indiana. Memorial contributions will be collected to cover headstone and gravesite expenses at his Celebration of Life.

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