March 15, 2014
Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands
"It's possible to be a strong female presence in the Bluegrass music world, but you have to be really strong. Laurie is one of the greatest Bluegrass artists, woman or man, because of her consistency over decades, the depth and width of her subject matter, her commitment to the Bluegrass form, and her technical command. Oh yes, and her strength. Laurie's strength manifests in many ways: her commanding presence on stage combined with an emotional vulnerability, the truths in her lyrics, her physical voice which transcends gender, her strong commitment to causes and issues in which she deeply believes, which all resonate with a respect for the land, the natural world, and human mercy and justice." - Darol Anger
Laurie Lewis has won the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award twice, the California's Women's Fiddle Championship twice, and a Grammy and two IBMA Awards for her part on "True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe." She has released a couple dozen albums; appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, A Prairie Home Companion, and the country's top festivals; plays great guitar and bass as well as fiddle; and leads a fabulous band, The Right Hands:
Tom Rozum: mandolin, vocals
Since joining forces with Laurie in 1986, Tom’s versatility and diverse musical influences come to the fore every night on stage with the band and in the 15 albums they've made together.
Patrick Sauber: banjo, vocals
Loafer's Glory, Bladerunners, Brombies, A Mighty Wind, ...
Chad Manning: fiddle
David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Bangers & Grass, fiddle championships, solo albums, ...
Sharon Gilchrist: acoustic bass, vocals
Tony Rice-Peter Rowan Quartet, Uncle Earl, Mike Marshall's Mandolin Orchestra, ...
Berkeley's own Laurie Lewis fell in love with American folk music as a teenager, at the sunset of the 1960s folk revival. She says of the Berkeley Folk Festivals where she first caught the folk bug, "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."
In her early 20s, she discovered the Bay Area bluegrass scene. To her, it was "like opening that door all over again. Here were all these people making music together, and I could immediately see myself as part of it. It woke up all that excitement I felt as a teenager, and I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life."
In the mid-1970s, she co-founded the Good Ol' Persons, an all-female bluegrass band with Kathy Kallick. In 1979 she founded the Grant Street String Band, in which her own songwriting came to the forefront. In the 1980s, she formed Laurie Lewis & Grant Street, and later called her bands Laurie Lewis & Her Bluegrass Pals and then the Guest House Band before renaming, in 2006, her group Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands.
It's a fabulous band, supporting Laurie's musical vision with wit and drive and pizzaz. If you’ve never heard them before, you need to hear them as soon as you can. And if you’ve already heard them, chances are you want to hear them again. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll bring a tear to your eye, they'll dazzle you ... don’t miss the return of Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands to the RBA stage.
"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 asinger, 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
Laurie Lewis Discography
Restless Rambling Heart (1986)
Love Chooses You (1989)
True Stories (1993)
Earth & Sky (1997)
Seeing Things (1998)
Skippin' and Flyin' (2011)
One Evening In May (2014)
With Tom Rozum:
The Oak and the Laurel (1995)
Winter's Grace (1999)
Guest House (2004)
With the Right Hands:
The Golden West (2006)
Steam & Steel: Songs Of Railroad's Golden Age (2012)
With Grant Street String Band:
Grant Street String Band (1983)
Singin' My Troubles Away (1991)
With Her Bluegrass Pals:
Laurie Lewis & Her Bluegrass Pals (1999)
With Kathy Kallick:
With Good Ol' Persons:
Good Ol' Persons (1977)
With Blue Rose:
Blue Rose (1989)
With Linda Tillery & Barbara Higbie:
Hills to Hollers - Live (2012)
Masters Of the Banjo (1994)
Charles Sawtelle: Music From Rancho DeVille (2001)
"Laurie Lewis wears many hats. Champion fiddler, bluegrass artist, chanteuse supreme, bandleader, songwriter, whitewater adventurer, teacher. A long-time favorite in the San Francisco Bay Area, this Berkeley resident reflects the many changes that have colored her life through her music, including the old Missouri fiddlers and the Tex-Mex music of California's Central Valley. When not making music of her own, she listens to a wide variety of artists including Walter Hyatt, Los Lobos, Bill Monroe, and the thirties and forties stylings of Billie Holiday. As a performer Lewis is versatile, joyful, and shares an easy rapport with her band and with her audience. As a person she is articulate, well-read, aware, and quick to laugh."
- Jana Pendragon, Twangin'
Old Ten Broeck:
Lark In the Morning:
O My Melissa:
Hula Hoop Tricks:
photo by mike melnyk
TICKETS: $20/advance, $25/door