Grammy award winning Laurie Lewis Bluegrass star on Nevada Theatre stage Saturday
This Saturday, Paul Emery presents Grammy award-winner, bluegrass trailblazer, singer and fiddler extraordinaire Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands with special guest Nina Gerber at the historic Nevada Theatre.
During her 30-year career, Lewis has truly established herself as one of the finest, most diversely talented folk artists in traditional American and bluegrass music today. She has either written, recorded, produced or performed on more than three dozen albums, won a Grammy for her contribution to “True Life Blues: the Songs of Bill Monroe,” twice been named the Female Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, performed at the Grand Ole Opry and with Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion, and has twice won California’s Women’s Fiddling championships.
Inspired by the Berkeley Folk Festivals, Lewis picked up guitar, fell hard for bluegrass banjo, and joined the folk song club at school. She and her best friend taught themselves Irish songs and harmony singing, and even took their act out on stage at some of the best-known Berkeley folk clubs of the ‘60s. At the same time, Lewis continued to struggle with classical violin lessons. For whatever reason, the idea that she could play folk, country, or bluegrass songs by ear on fiddle was yet to click into place.
Violin, at least in practice for Laurie, still equated to reading sheet music and memorizing compositions. So when her dad gave her a record by Chubby Wise and the Rainbow Ranch Boys full of fiddle tunes and waltzes, she listened to it and loved it, but it never occurred to her as a teenager to work out those songs and play them. Ultimately, all the hours spent scratching out Mozart sonatas on the violin, and her deep developing love for folk music and bluegrass in particular, would resolve into a long career right at the heart, as Utah Phillips reminded us, of what country music ought to be.
Performing with Lewis on stage is her band The Right Hands, an elite group of talented players, many of whom have played with David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Doc Watson, Herb Pedersen, Psychograss, Jerry Douglas, and more. Joining Lewis is special guest guitarist Nina Gerber. Gerber has added her talents to the work of a wealth of wonderful artists, including Karla Bonoff, Peter Rowan, Nanci Griffith, Lucy Kaplansky, and Kate Wolf, with whom she started her musical career. Her album “Good Music with Good People” features outstanding performances with Jackson Browne, Eliza Gilkyson, and Bruce Cockburn, among others, all taken from the Kate Wolf Festival.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. Nov. 1 show are $25 and available online at http://www.paulemerymusic.com, or in person at BriarPatch Co-op or Yabobo.
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