Forever Farmland

Performance Noted

Sean Rowe

Putnam Place

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Sean Rowe. Cover photo by Charlie Samuels.

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The deep baritone, reverberating from under an impressive beard intertwined with colors and songs of years on the road, echoes the hard truth. With 100 percent of the night’s proceeds donated to the Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) a nonprofit land trust created to help conserve farmland in Washington and Rensselaer Counties. Visit

Photo: Charlie Samuels

Standing alone in the hazy light, Sean Rowe’s eyes are tightly closed. He rocks his head back and forth. He is feeling the pain in the words, emoting in a way that as a listener, you feel. His guitar, worn with age and time, was patched with the same tool often used on the very farms he is benefiting. Here he stands, a vocal reminder that our farms are facing an increasingly dire set of circumstances. Equipment needs to be repaired, barns painted, crops planted, all with less and less year after year. In both cases, duct tape remains the low stress tool of choice. Toiling away in the soil, under the hot sun, or searching for the perfect rhyme, the clarity of his lyrics tells the story.

Growing up around here, Washington County and its hilly farmland beauty was just a quick trip east. Every October, we would make our annual trek to Hicks Orchard for our Macintosh apples and beloved apple cider doughnuts – visit It was simply the thing to do. Need apples? Go to Washington County.

Several family members fondly recall the members of the big farming families in their classes, always feeling slightly bad for those boys. These young men would have a full set of farm chores to complete, or needed to milk a whole row of cows, before school started. Often, they arrived to school in the same shoes or boots, unfortunately carrying along the aroma of the farm in addition to mud. I was told the young boys would shyly sit at their desks. The stark reality, being a member of a farm family, often unfairly stigmatized children as poor or uneducated.

Any farm family I know of has a significant amount of pride, caring and love for the land – above and beyond a typical gardener. Farmers are able to gaze into a field and project how a season’s planting will go. Through innovative farm saving solutions such as the ASA, financial mechanisms save not only a farm, but the source of family pride.

Photo: Charlie Samuels

Tonight, the community was invited to listen to Sean Rowe’s deep, haunting chords in songs full of lyrics invoking heart felt pain, joy, longing, and peace. Sean’s connection to the land and helping foster its growth is expressed through the music, the words, offering up a helping hand to the farm.

Amy Ryan

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