Laurie Lewis Biography

28 September 1950, Long Beach, California, USA. Singer-songwriter, violinist and bass player Laurie Lewis is one of the American traditional music scene’s most fêted practitioners. Lewis learned to play the violin as a child and, having fallen in love with traditional music, graduated to bluegrass fiddle in the early 70s. She played with the bands the Phantoms Of The Opry and the Arkansas Sheiks before, in 1975, teaming up with four other women, including singer-songwriter Kathy Kallick, to form the Good Ol’ Persons. Lewis remained with this influential unit for four years before leaving to form the Grant Street String Band. The line-up of this band included Tom Rozum, a mandolin player who would go on to form a long-lasting musical and personal relationship with Lewis. With acclaim for the Grant Street String Band ringing in her ears, Lewis made her solo debut in 1986 with Restless Rambling Heart. The first of three releases on the Flying Fish label, the album established a vibrant fusion of traditional bluegrass with more contemporary sounds, with Lewis’ astonishing fiddling and sweet vocals the focal points. Her final Flying Fish album, 1990’s Singin’ My Troubles Away, saw Lewis promoting Grant Street onto the album cover, while the following year’s Together reunited her with her former Good Ol’ Persons sparring partner Kallick.

Lewis made her debut for Rounder Records in 1993 with True Stories and recorded her first duet album with Rozum, the Grammy Award-nominated The Oak And The Laurel, two years later. Lewis’ next solo album, 1998’s Seeing Things, was a quietly impressive attempt to focus attention on her unsung vocal and songwriting talents. By way of contrast, she released a highly enjoyable bluegrass session the following year. Lewis relocated to HighTone Records in the new millennium, making her debut for the label in 2004 with the Rozum collaboration, Guest House. In addition to her recording career, Lewis is also an in-demand session bass player and producer.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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