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.

Roses in full bloom, Berkeley, CA, 4/29/20
Roses in full bloom, Berkeley, CA, 4/29/20

Dear Companions,

I am reverting to my natural self these days, waking up with the birds at 5:00 AM. For my entire career in music, I have had to fight my internal clock to stay up late and sleep late. I never could do the up-all-night jam sessions that my friends ("real musicians") revel in. So here it is, 5:30, and I sit at the kitchen table listening to the towhees sing their one note over and over, drowning out the other singers. I love the early morning.

As the days wear on, the gravity of the situation we find ourselves in is really beginning to make itself felt. Although I greatly appreciate the quiet streets and skies, my heart goes out to everyone struggling to keep their little toehold in this crashing economy. Our own work continues to erode further and further into the future. It has been a couple of months now since I have felt the joy of singing and playing with my fellow musicians. I have never considered myself a solo musician, but in desperation, two weeks ago I began posting a Song-a-Day on my Facebook page. Nothing fancy—just me and my guitar and an original song. It keeps me occupied, helps me remember the lyrics, and gives focus to the days. If you are afflicted with Facebookitis, you can find them all on my band page.

You can order my new CD, and Laurie Lewis, from my website, here, or at any of the other usual places.

I am most happy to report that The Bluegrass Situation has chosen me for their May Artist of the Month. They have compiled an extensive "essential" playlist from 40 years of recordings, and will be featuring an extensive, two-part interview later this month.
Bluegrass situation - May Artist of the Month
It has been a tough month for so many, around the world. Never, in my lifetime, has a stronger case been made for the need for equal access to universal health care.

There are many ways that you can help support those of us who are dependent for our livelihood on being able to gather together in crowds. Please do what you can. And contribute to your local food bank!
Sending you virtual hugs,
Here's where we would have been...

FRI, MAY 1 Sebastopol, CA
SAT, MAY 2 Kelseyville, CA
SUN, MAY 3 Willits, CA
THU, MAY 7 Landau, Germany
SAT, MAY 9 Haag am Hausruck, Austria
THU, MAY 14 Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany
FRI, MAY 15 Willisau, Switzerland
SAT, MAY 16 International Bluegrass Festival, Bühl, Germany
MON, MAY 18 Chidham, Chichester, UK
WED, MAY 20 Halifax, UK
THU, MAY 21 Selby, UK
FRI, MAY 22 Basingstoke, UK
SAT, MAY 23 London, UK
SUN, MAY 24 West Sussex, UK
THU, MAY 28 River of Song Benefit Concert, Berkeley, CA
THU, JUN 11 Wray, CO
FRI, SAT, JUN 12, 13 Buffalo Commons Storyteller Festival, McCook, NE
SUN-WED, JUN 14-17 CBA Music Camp, Grass Valley, CA
THU-SUN, JUN 18-21 Fathers Day Bluegrass Festival, Grass Valley, CA
FRI, JUN 26 Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival, Laytonville, CA
THU, JUL 9 Snowmass, CO
FRI, JUL 10 Telluride, CO
SAT-SUN, JUL 11, 12 High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival, Westcliffe, CO

We have had August cancellations, too, and expect more to follow.

At this writing, the following camps are still planning on happening. Now is the time to start thinking of how you will spend your Summer Vacation. I have a few suggestions for you:

Song Roots Appalachia, Aug 31-Sep 4
Camp Fircom, BC, Canada. Join Ginny Hawker, Beverly Smith, Pharis Romero, Emily Miller and me for this Appalachian Singing Study Camp on beautiful Gambier Island!

For a glorious four days, I will be working on songwriting and sharing the wonders, craft, pain and joy of marrying words and music. The website information isn't up yet for the Fall retreat, but keep checking the site. I attended this a few years ago, and it was one of my favorite gatherings of the year. I am looking forward to returning.

Celebrate your independence by joining us on the Rogue River, July 2-6, 2020! Tom Rozum and I are addicted to the combination of river rafting and music. Try it. You'll like it.
Contact Northwest Rafting Company for details.

AND we will be rafting down the Tuolumne again this year, July 30-Aug1. Three days on one of the quintessential California rivers! Contact ARTA River Trips
and Laurie Lewis - New Album

Here are some snippets of what people are saying about and Laurie Lewis:

It’s as if she knew I needed to hear this collection of songs right at this time. Of course, that’s incredibly selfish for me to say. She is reaching out to all of us.
— Chris Brashear, Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association

Some albums provide a snapshot of a musician at a particular instant in time, capturing the mood and feel of the moment. “And Laurie Lewis,” the latest release by the Berkeley bluegrass icon, works more like a time-lapse montage, distilling a thick web of friendships forged over a lifetime.
—Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News

Mixing originals with covers (all but one are by women), Lewis’ brilliance shines in her reverence and quiet understatement. —Amos Perrine, No Depression

I loved getting the chance to record this duet with Laurie! She will always be a hero to me, and listening to her records on repeat was a big reason why I started playing music.—Molly Tuttle, Fretboard Journal

And Twangville, the online music zine, has a feature wherein they ask artists to answer the same set of questions. You can read my answers here

October 10, 1946 – April 7, 2020

John Prine showed us all how to write. How to describe a life or a situation with seemingly offhand details that made everything pop into focus. He was funny, and deep, and always loving. I only met him one time, at Strawberry Music Festival, and was way too shy to talk to him. But he stood by the side of the stage and listened to our whole set, which was the first of the day, at 12:30 PM I think. When I got off the stage, he asked, "Why'd you have to break my heart so early in the day?" Is that a great line, or what? 

John Prine made the world a better place. COVID-19 took his life at age 73. RIP.
Read his New York Times obituary here.

July 12, 1926-April 17, 2020

Between 1976 and 1986, I played regularly with Dick Oxtot's Golden Age Jazz Band, most often at a popular little club called The Point, in Point Richmond, CA. Except for the times that Barbara Higbie joined us on piano, I was the baby of the band. Everyone else was at least a good 20 years older than me. Bob held down the trombone chair. He was a wonderful musician, whose gruff tutelage made me a much better musician. I am mourning the passage of one of the last remaining links I have with that exciting time in my musical life. You can read Bob's obituary here, and an in-depth article about his legacy at the San Francisco Traditional Jazz Foundation Collection at Stanford University. I had no idea how much I loved the trombone until I heard him play.
Wildcat Creek in Tilden Park, East Bay Hills
Wildcat Creek in Tilden Park, East Bay Hills