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Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands brings Bluegrass to Angels Camp on February 9
Angels Camp, CA...Last year attendees at the Calaveras County Arts Council’s performing-arts series Ovations had a chance to weigh in on the kinds of music they would like to hear at 2020’s winter concerts. According to the Arts Council Executive Director Kathy Mazzaferro, “bluegrass was one of the top genres requested. It’s what our audience wanted.” Choosing Laurie Lewis to scratch that itch was a no-brainer. “She’s one of the top bluegrass artists,” Mazzaferro said. “By all accounts, she’s amazing. We’re very grateful she was available.”



Fiddler, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and Grammy-winner Laurie Lewis has long been a staple of the Northern California (and beyond) bluegrass scene. “When I was in my early 20s I discovered the vibrant bluegrass community in the Bay Area and I just stayed,” she said. She’s built a career performing this traditional art form, helping found two West Coast legends, the Good Ol’ Persons Band and the Grant Street String Band, has twice been voted female vocalist of the year by the International Bluegrass Association. Her classic rendition of Kate Long’s song, "Who Will Watch the Home Place?" won International Bluegrass Song of the Year, and her latest album with her band the Right Hands, The Hazel and Alice Sessions, was nominated for the Best Bluegrass Recording Grammy in 2017. Lewis was an influencer in the bluegrass world before “influencer” was an Instagram path to fame.

Bluegrass is the quintessential melting-pot American music, hailing from Appalachia and built on a framework of influences from Africa, the British Isles and mainland Europe. Old time string music, blues, sacred music, gospel, and jazz intertwined to create the high lonesome sound and rollicking stringed instrumentals that burst into life the early 20th century with performers like Bill Monroe, the Carter Family, and Ralph Stanley.

“It is a very communal sort of music,” Lewis said. “You want to be in a band to play it. It’s so much about communication with the other band members.” With her silvery voice, Lewis weaves intricate and skin-tingling harmonies with members of The Rights Hands: Singer and mandolin player Tom Rozum, Banjo player Patrick Sauber, fiddle player Brandon Godman, and stand-up bass player Andrew Conklin.

Lewis says she and the band gravitate towards the older traditional style, as opposed to the modern smoother style of bluegrass. Although she admits that “I also write a lot of songs, and I’m not necessarily bound to the tradition when I write. It’s impossible to be true to yourself and be a complete dyed-in-the-wool traditionalist.”

Traditional doesn’t equal stuffiness. “I would argue that blue grass started out as a pretty cutting edge music,” Lewis said. “It was music that combined the interest of Bill Monroe. He loved the church singing and old time fiddle tunes, and he was a singer songwriter. You could sort of define it as a singer song writer with a string band. If you look at it that way, we are perfectly in the tradition.”

The Calaveras County Arts Council presents Laurie Lewis on Sunday, February 9
3 to 5 p.m.

Tickets: $25 adults/$10 under 18. Available online at www.calaverasarts.org, or call 209/754-1774 Monday through Thursday.

Location: Dr. Elliott Smart Performing Arts Center, Bret Harte High
School, Angels Camp
02/09/2020
Starts at 03:00 PM

 Life & Style
Entertainment
Angels Camp

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