Laurie Lewis

Laurie Lewis News



Every month or so we email a newsletter to our fan base/mailing list with news and to give a perspective from traveling musicians. The archieved newsletters are available from the drop-down menu.

Sierra Mountains
Flying over the Sierra Nevada and Mono Lake, late April 2017

May, 2017
Dear Companions,

Time seems to be whipping by at an extraordinary pace these days. i was hit with a bad bout of the flu while Tom Rozum and I were in Wyoming, and was forced to spend over two weeks just trying to get through it. I'm fine now, thanks, but it took a large chunk of creative time out of our residency. I suppose I needed the down time. 

Returning from just-greening Wyoming to full-bloom Berkeley, I was nearly bowled over by the colors and scents in the air! It looked positively garish to me, after the tasteful muted palette of the northern plains, and the perfume in the air was irritatingly strong. By now my eyes and nose have adjusted and I am reveling in this most-green Spring. I'm missing the meadowlarks of Wyoming, though.

Berkeley Bluegrass Festival, May 19-21
The Freight and Salvage is presenting the second annual Berkeley Bluegrass Festival, May 19-21. Make your plans to attend! I'll be hosting all three nights in some capacity, and playing with the Lula Gals on Friday night and the Right Hands on Sunday. Tickets and more information is available here There'll be jamming, free workshops, a music store in the lobby, a square dance, and other great things going on all weekend.

It's time to start figuring out what you are going to be doing in August to stay cool, and I have just the suggestion: take a raft trip down the beautiful Tuolumne River here in Northern California with Tom and me. Last year, I was so disheartened to see the tributary rivers clogged with algae and the river channel crowded with new growth of willows right to the water's edge. That was the result of the devastating drought that we have been experiencing. Well, this year, there is so much water that the rivers have been scoured and thoroughly cleaned out, and I am assured that "The Mighty T" will be in top form, even in late August. Want to come along? Information is below. 
The final snow pack report came in today, and the Sierra Nevada Range in California has more snow than has fallen in the last century! There go my early summer backpacking plans...I like to be able to see the trail.


FRI, MAY 5, 7:30 PM
Bluegrass Pride
Kathy Kallick, Suzy and Allegra Thompson, Molly Tuttle, Brandon Godman, Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, Larry Cohea, Tom Bekeny, 
Emily Mann, and more! 
A benefit for the bluegrass float at  SF Pride Parade 
1317 San Pablo Ave 
Berkeley, CA
Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum
with Brandon Godman and Max Schwartz
Culver City, CA

Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum
with Brandon Godman and Max Schwartz
Wolk Garden
Fresno Folk Society
Fresno, CA
Advance tickets available at National Hardware & Patrick's Music 
Click to contact Pat Wolk, or call 559-304-4695
FRI, MAY 19, 8:00 PM
The Lula Gals:
Laurie Lewis, Mary Gibbons, Kathy Barwick, Sharon Gilchrist, 
Amy Scher, 
and Emily Mann
Berkeley Bluegrass Festival OPENING NIGHT!
Freight and Salvage 
Berkeley, CA

SUN, MAY 21, 6:30 PM 
Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands:
Tom Rozum, Patrick Sauber, Brandon Godman, Max Schwartz
Berkeley Bluegrass Festival
Freight and Salvage
2020 Addison St 
Berkeley, CA

Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands:
Tom Rozum, Patrick Sauber, Brandon Godman, Max Schwartz
UU Fellowship of Chico 
1289 Filbert Ave.
Chico, CA 

Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands:
Tom Rozum, Patrick Sauber, Brandon Godman, Max Schwartz
Brews, Bluegrass and BBQ Festival
RoxyAnn Winery 
3283 Hillcrest Rd 
Medford, OR 

Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands
Tom Rozum, Patrick Sauber, Brandon Godman, Max Schwartz
The Studio 
3270 Main Street
Cottonwood, CA

River of Song: 
Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum, Thompsonia!, Barbara Higbie, the T Sisters, Blame Sally, and Jenner Fox
a Benefit Concert for Northern California Rivers
Freight and Salvage
2020 Addison St 
Berkeley, CA

Max Schwartz, Patrick Sauber, Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Brandon Godman
L-R: Max Schwartz, Patrick Sauber, Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Brandon Godman 
photo by Jessica Eve Rattner

Come join us on a three-day rafting trip on the Tuolumner River in Northern California!
Monday-Wednesday, August 21-23

We will be cared for and cooked for by the wonderful guides at ARTA River Trips.

Tom Rozum and I have been returning to the Tuolumne every year, and sometimes twice a year, since we first visited the river in 1991. I can't get enough of this quintessential California river canyon, with its smooth granite, perfect swimming holes, canyon wrens, kingfishers and John Muir's favorite bird, the water ouzel (known these days as the far less exotic-sounding American Dipper). 

We spend the days rafting, swimming, eating great food, and hiking or lazing about, and the dusk and evening hours are devoted to music and conversation. 

River guides pose for an underwater portrait
River guides pose for an underwater portrait.
photo by Laurie Lewis

That's right, folks! Tom has just finished designing another great t-shirt, this time for the Berkeley Bluegrass Festival. We have made arrangements to be able to offer them for sale, in a limited quantity and in limited sizes. Here's what it looks like:
Tom Rozum T-shirts
These 100% cotton T's are available in Brown Savannah or Stone Blue (the above colors) in classic t-shirt style sizes XL, L, M. They can be had for $20 each, plus $5 shipping and handling within the USA. Please order from through PayPal. Send a first and second choice! Women's t-shirts will most likely be available at live shows (sorry, ladies! women's sizes vary too much from brand to brand).
Bill BrysonPatrick Sauber called me Monday morning with the news of Bill Bryson's death. Bill played a huge part in helping to shape young Patrick's mind, intellectually and musically, and played with him in numerous bands, chiefly Loafer's Glory.

Tom Rozum wrote, "I first saw Bill at the San Diego Folk Festival in the mid 1970s, when he was playing bass and did all the talking on stage with the then California-based, Bluegrass Cardinals, and a year later when they played at the Old Tucson Bluegrass Festival. I thought it was cool how he would speak so eloquently, and because he was shorter than the rest, how he would immediately hoist the center microphone up so that the trio could all gather around it and commence playing.  In 1979 I just about jumped out of my seat with joy when I saw and heard Bill and Tom Sauber on the silver screen playing honest-to-God, real old time music in the hit movie, The Long Riders (musical direction by Ry Cooder). 

Most people know Bill as the solid bass player in the 80's country rock band, Desert Rose, which included Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, John Jorgenson, Steve Duncan, Jay Dee Maness, and later, Tom Brumley. Bluegrassers know him for his strong bass playing, singing and powerful songwriting with The Bluegrass Cardinals, Bluegrass Etc, Loafer's Glory, and The Brombies. But Bill was very adept at old time banjo and had a big background in finger style country blues. He told me once that while in high school, playing in an old time stringband with David Lindley, David took him over to hear a bluegrass band rehearse at someone's house in Pasadena. It was Bill's first exposure to hearing bluegrass. What a great thing to first hear it live! Oh yeah, it didn't hurt that the band was not too shabby-The Kentucky Colonels (with Clarence and Roland White)!"

Bill was the consummate sideman, always did his homework, had one of the most dependable beats in the business, and then when he'd step up to the mic to sing he held the audience in the palm of his hand. Such a wonderful songwriter. Bill had a brilliant mind and was a sun worshipper. I can see him sitting in the sun outside a motel room in the sun, ingesting Volume 3 of "The Quasi War With France," a weighty tome on British naval battles. I remember him playing at RockyGrass with someone a number of years ago, and a young musician said, "I've gotta go listen! they have a legendary old bass guy, from Cuba or somewhere." A tip of the hat to Bill's ever-present SoCal tan. Our hearts go out to Bill's many friends and to his wife, Annie.

Bill Bryson with the Brombies, "Small Things"

There were over 200,000 people gathered in Washington, DC, to join in the People's Climate March. Here in Oakland, our numbers were much smaller, but it was so good to experience the energy of the crowd, and feel counted in some way on the side of the one and only Earth. The sound system was bicycle-powered, and there was a phalanx of bikes and people waiting their turn to pedal for the planet. It was a gorgeous day for it. Please remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle.