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Today in Music – Happy Birthday Laurie Lewis!!

Laurie Lewis

Born on this day in 1950, is a musician that  often gets overlooked in my music library (my bad!) Laurie Lewis. I know there’s been times when the iPod is on shuffle and one of her songs comes on and I say hey that’s great, but that the next time I’m looking for something to listen to, I scroll right past the Ls! So today let’s says “Happy Birthday, Laurie and thanks for all the years you’ve given the bluegrass scene great music!

Laurie was born in Long Beach, California and her career has spanned 30 years in which she has released 18 albums. According to Wikipedia she fell in love with Folk Music as a teenager in the late 1969s, first catching the “folk bug” and the Berekley Folk Festivals.

“Oh, it was so exciting. Every night there were concerts, and during the day you’d be in a eucalyptus grove listening to someone making music with nothing between you and them. Every day I’d hear something new, Doc Watson or the Greenbriar Boys. Something about it just invited me to start playing it. From Wikipedia 

During the course of her career she has won many awards including:

Laurie Lewis twice won California’s Women’s Fiddling championships.
She won a Grammy for True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe 1997.
She was nominated with Tom Rozum for a Grammy for their collection of duets, The Oak and the Laurel, in the category of Best Traditional Folk Album of 1995.
Twice named Female Vocalist of the Year by the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association), in 1992 and 1994Laurie and the Right HandsPerforming beside her through the years has been her band,and The Right Hands and particularly mandolin player Tom Rozum,  who joined the band in 1986. Rozum is a multi-instrumentalist playing predominately mandolin. He also signs harmony and according the Laurie’s website:

 He is a fine lead vocalist, the ideal harmony partner for Laurie (it’s not for nothing that their duet collaboration The Oak and the Laurel was so highly regarded that it was a Grammy nominee for the Best Traditional Folk Album of 1996), and occasionally functions as the comic foil for on-stage goings-on whenever things get too weighty. Tom can be heard on most of Laurie’s recordings; their other duet albums, Guest House and Winter’s Grace; and the band’s The Golden West and Live Read More

Other mainstays of the band include: bass player Todd Phillips, banjo player Craig Smith and guitarist Scott Hoffman. Newer members include:Chad Manning fiddle,Andrew Conklin guitar, bass, and Patrick Stauber, banjo

But the driving force for it all is obviously Laurie whose fine vocals, fiddle playing and songwriting lead the way. Here’s what some folks have to say about her….

She is newgrass in the truest sense of the word, in that she uses bluegrass instruments to create new original music: it’s music for now. As a fiddler, she could be from the 1940s or from 2010; it’s timeless. As a singer, she knows the rules of bluegrass and how to sing in her own voice. She’s probably one of the few female singers who really knows the nuances of the Ralph Stanley vocal style.”
—Sam Bush, founder New Grass Revival

“Judging by the respect she has among fans and peers in the industry, Laurie is one of the pre-eminent bluegrass and Americana artists of our time. She spreads her talent over several genres – bluegrass, folk, country – and with the recognition she has within all those fields, I would certainly say she’s one of the top five female artists of the last 30 years. And she continues to make great music.”
—Dan Hays, Executive Director, IBMA

So again let’s say “Happy Birthday, Laurie and kick off the weekend with Laurie and The Right Hand performing “Tall Pines”