Skip to main content
  1. AXS Entertainment
  2. Arts & Entertainment
  3. Music

Laurie Lewis headlines fund-raising Freight Holiday Revue

See also

Laurie Lewis is among bluegrass' most esteemed musicians but her contributions transcend merely musical matters.
Born in Berkeley in 1950, Lewis became intrigued by bluegrass in the early '70s, a time when the music was still largely dominated by men. Her skills – as musician, songwriter and performer – helped open the door for a generation of women.
Lewis came to the music via an indirect route. She began playing piano as a child before switching to classical violin. It was only after attending the Berkeley Folk Festival as a teen that Lewis turned her attention to traditional American music.
“The music that really spoke to me was the rural, more backwoods music," Lewis told me in an interview a few years ago. "I heard Doc Watson and I just loved his thing. Jean Ritchie, I couldn't get over her songs, the power of them. I was just drawn to do traditional music."
Lewis takes center stage Saturday at the Freight & Salvage to host the Freight Holiday Revue. The longest night of the year will be a bright one in Berkeley thanks to a lineup that also features Suzy Thompson, Keith Little and the Little Band, Claudia Russell and Bruce Kaplan and Tom Rozum.
Inspired by the Berkeley folk scene, Lewis learned guitar and took banjo lessons. She sharpened her fiddling skills and won the California State Women's Championship.
Lewis made her first foray into bluegrass in 1974, when she joined Phantom of the Opry. She and Kathy Kallick later formed the duo Good Ol' Persons. In 1979, Lewis founded a group, the Grant Street String Band. Among its players was Rozum.
"He's my foremost singing partner," Lewis said. "He's very, very instrumental in helping me realize the music I hear in my head. Plus, he's got all these things of his own, his own strengths. He's a great mandolin player as well as a wonderful singer."
Lewis split her time between Grant Street and her own projects after releasing her 1986 solo debut, "Restless Rambling Heart." She's been acknowledged for her songwriting (Kathy Mattea recorded her "Love Chooses You"), singing (Lewis was been named IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year) and fiddling. The result is a singular sound that while rooted in deep traditions also has a mood and vibe all its own.
"The music that I play is very shaped by being a Californian," Lewis said. "I have a lot more in common with the West Coast sensibilities than I do with Nashville or the Southeast."

Want to keep up with the best in Bay Area jazz and blues?
Subscribe to us: Have our jazz and blues Examiner columns sent to your inbox. Click the SUBSCRIBE button on this page. It's free. (And we won't spam you or give out your information.) Bookmark us: http://www.examiner.com/jazz-music-in-oakland/brian-mccoy. CONTACT ME FOR YOUR JAZZ AND ARTS GRANT WRITING NEEDS

Advertisement

Today's top buzz...

  • NHL ice girls
    They may be smoking hot, but these NHL ice girls serve a purpose
    Camera
    Sports Chicks
  • Miley Cyrus
    Find out why Miley Cyrus was forced to cancel a Kansas City concert
    Video
    Music News
  • Amaris Jackson
    The Washington Wizards sign a 10-year-old with cancer to contract
    NBA Buzz
  • Emily Kinney
    'Walking Dead' fans are buzzing about the show as Emily Kinney was spotted with writers
    TV Buzz
  • Barry Trotz
    The Nashville Predators part ways with the only coach they've ever had
    NHL Buzz
  • AC/DC
    AC/DC may announce their retirement following a serious health issue
    Video
    Music Buzz

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!