between the liner notes
George Rowe: The Family Guy
By Jennifer E. Jones
Nashville, TN George Rowe burst onto the Christian music scene as the opening act for Michael W. Smith. Rowe, being no slouch on the piano himself, came out with his debut album in 2003 called Think About That. The fanfare for the soulful pop CD was noteworthy, yet the humble Rowe still scratches his head at all the excitement.
“I wonder why do they want my autograph,” he jokes with CBNmusic. “I’m not cool. I think I’m just an average guy. I’m flattered though.”
The music industry took this normal guy out of obscurity and onto the road of tour life.
“It’s a great experience knowing my job is to travel the country, worshipping with people and I get to sing,” he says. “After the show, I make it back to the bus, call home, and check in with my wife and she says, ‘Can you believe you just sang with Amy Grant?’ I just have to pinch myself sometimes. I love going to work.”
In between touring with CCM’s finest, Rowe enjoys every moment of being a family man again.
“The first couple days I try to give my wife a break,” he says. “Just to give her a chance to go to the grocery store by herself and be efficient about it rather than running around after three kids. Let her get a diet Coke and take her time. Make phone calls to friends without interruption from the kids. That’s usually the first priority.”
Rowe says on his days off he gets a few mornings to sleep in but his main desire is reconnecting with his family.
“I make up for lost time. I play with the kids, wrestling every night, reading books, taking bubble baths, watching movies,” he says.
One of the biggest challenges to musicians who travel is finding their groove as a husband and father, according to Rowe.
“We need to do it differently, I know, than how we used to do it, which was the traditional 9 to 5. We were engaged equally once I got home from work. Now, the temptation is to come home and be the fun guy and be the good guy – the one who overlooks discipline. You’re the dad who gets to be the fun one, whereas my wife gets stuck with the discipline and all the stuff that goes along with it. So we really had to work hard to make up for lost time and be present, active and involved as parents.”
Like most fathers with busy careers know, Rowe couldn’t do it without his adoring wife by his side.
“My wife is a saint. She does it all beautifully, graciously, efficiently, and well-organized,” Rowe says. “She’s great at administrating and keeping it fun also. She’s got a routine that she adheres to.”
Some artists get the privilege of taking their families out on the road with them. For Rowe, it doesn’t always work out that way.
“We tried, but they’re in school so definitely not. And I’m at the stage where I’m opening for somebody, so it’s the headliners cost to pay for the bus. They want to fill it with people they need. It’s expensive to ask, ‘Can I bring four more people along and you provide food for us and hotel for us?’ It doesn’t work.”
Rowe adds that traveling with small children to unknown areas can be taxing on the family morale.
“They come to this foreign city with me where they don’t have a car or food. They’re stuck in a hotel with nothing to eat, nowhere to go and no way to get there. I’m at the venue setting up for the concert, tearing down. The first time I get back to the hotel it’s 11:30, midnight. They’re all asleep, and I haven’t seen them all day. The next morning is like, ‘What’s the point of that?’”
Although road life isn’t ideal for kids, Rowe says that he and his family have made the best of some golden opportunities.
“If we can get a day or two before or after a show... if we can go up on a Friday for a Sunday night show, we’ve got Saturday there to play,” he says. “We did that. We had a show in the D.C. area. It was on a Sunday. We went up Thursday and played tourists. We showed the kids stuff that I grew up seeing all the time. That was fun.”
In spite of all the fun and success, Rowe hasn’t forgotten who he is. “I’m just a geek who likes gadgets and makes obscene gross noises to make my kids laugh.”
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