New Album Laurie Lewis
‘And Laurie Lewis’
Highly-respected San Francisco Bay Area bluegrass artist Laurie Lewis has called on a number of her West Coast cohorts to collaborate on her newest release and Laurie Lewis.
Available now, Lewis’s thirteen-track collection of duets reflects the relationships and friendships that have brought her to the present moment and also supporting the young musicians who will help carry her legacy into the next generation.
“There are things that you can communicate musically together, which are hard to put into words,” Lewis explains. “To have those conversations with people I love and who have been so significant throughout my career is a beautiful thing.”
Duet guests on and Laurie Lewis include Nina Gerber, Tatiana Hargreaves, Barbara Higbie, Kathy Kallick, Mike Marshall, Todd Phillips, Tom Rozum, Craig Smith, Molly Tuttle, and Leah Wollenber.
The album opens with “You Are My Flower,” a duet with Molly Tuttle on a song which Lewis learned “through osmosis” from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s first and seminal Will The Circle Be Unbroken album. Lewis has followed and supported Tuttle from her early days.
“Troubled Times” hones in on that vocal interplay with an a capella arrangement of a Lewis original featuring Leah Wollenberg’s supportive accompaniment. “I wrote this song many years ago, and I guess it has just been waiting for the right voice to sing in harmony,” says Lewis. “I have known Leah since before she was born, and our voices fit like family.”
Here’s a live clip of that song:
The song that Lewis chose to sing with her decades-long cohort, Tom Rozum is an obscure version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” which Lewis and Rozum learned from bluegrass legends Bill and Charlie Monroe.
Raised in Berkeley, California, Lewis was introduced to bluegrass and folk music at the Berkeley Folk Festival, at the impressionable age of fourteen. Between that time and recording her first solo album, at age 36, she tried a botched run at college, studied modern dance, worked in a gas station, ran a violin shop, and played music with local musicians on the weekends and on short tours up and down the West Coast.
But with the release of her debut album, Restless Rambling Heart in 1986, Laurie finally committed to playing music full-time and has since recorded nearly twenty albums in a number of musical formats for such labels as Flying Fish, Rounder, Hightone, Sugar Hill, Kaleidoscope and her own label, Spruce & Maple Music.
Her latest album with her band the Right Hands (Tom Rozum, Chad Manning, Patrick Sauber, Tatiana Hargreaves and Andrew Conklin), The Hazel and Alice Sessions, was nominated for the “Best Bluegrass Recording” Grammy in 2017.
New Album Laurie Lewis