MP3 Laurie Lewis and The Right Hands - Live
A bluegrass band with influences of folk, Americana, old-time country, and swing. Great singing and playing.
19 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Traditional Folk, COUNTRY: Bluegrass
Laurie Lewis and The Right Hands. featuring native Berkeleyite Laurie''s songwriting, fiddling, and crystal-clear singing which have brought her national recognition, several Grammy nominations, and three International Bluegrass Music Association Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year. Through her many band and solo outings, Laurie has become a key figure in bluegrass, traditional, folk and Americana music circles. Tom Rozum adds his mandolin, mandola, guitar, vocal talent and wry humor; Todd Phillips lays down playfully amazing bass lines; Craig Smith brings along his banjo and impeccable taste, timing, and tone; and Scott Huffman rounds out the ensemble on guitar and warm country vocals. Recorded in the great northwest in March 2007 LIVE captures the Right Hands’ dynamic interplay.
If you listen down the backroads of acoustic Americana, however, you''ll soon realize this soft-spoken, sweet-singing California fiddler, singer and songwriter is something very special. "Judging by the respect she has among fans and peers in the industry," says IBMA executive director Dan Hays, "Laurie is one of the pre-eminent bluegrass and Americana artists of our time. She spreads her talent over several genres - bluegrass, folk, country - and with the recognition she has within all those fields, I would certainly say she''s one of the top five female artists of the last 30 years. And she continues to make great music." This measure of respect is all the more remarkable given what a groundbreaking revolutionary Lewis has been, the first bona fide bluegrass star who was a woman born outside the music''s native southland. It is hard to tell whether her being a woman or a Californian impacted the music more, but what is clear is that she is a pivotal figure in transforming the music from a regional genre into a truly international musical language. "She''s opened a lot of doors for our music," says Hays. "There were certainly female artists in bluegrass before her, but to do what she''s done with her own unique style, as opposed to mimicking her male counterparts, she''s been a real pioneer in that regard. It goes beyond her just being a woman, though she''s set a wonderful example for female artists. Her whole approach to music has had a positive influence throughout the country."
Sam Bush is such a pivotal figure in the modern bluegrass revival that the subgenre of progressive bluegrass was nicknamed after the band he founded in the 1970s, the Newgrass Revival. He warns against making too much fuss about Lewis being influential simply because of her gender or where she hails from. "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," he says. "Laurie is very genderless to me. I know that''s not the right way to put it, but I just think of her as an artist: a great singer, terrific fiddle player, fine songwriter, and one very good band leader. As a fiddler, she could be from the 1940s or from 2010; it''s timeless," he says. "As a singer, 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."
The Sacramento News called her "as fine a singer as anyone on the acoustic music circuit, anywhere in the world." Billboard praised her ability to "successfully walk the high wire above esoteric country, combining elements of bluegrass and pure country to form her own seamless mix." Or as American folk icon Utah Phillips put it, "Whatever country music is supposed to be, she''s at the center of it." Her songs have traveled as widely as she has, but it is revealing to see who has recorded them: Kathy Mattea, Patsy Montana, Jeannie Kendall, Prudence Johnson - all revered as supreme stylists and song-finders.
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. He plays primarily mandolin with the band, but is also an accomplished fiddle, mandola, and guitar player. His background as a rock and swing musician adds a uniquely satisfying flavor to the band. His rhythmic approach to mandolin especially punctuates the band''s repertoire, adding a verve and excitement to their on-stage shows which has become a distinctive feature of their performances. He is a fine lead vocalist, the ideal harmony partner for Laurie (it''s not for nothing that their duet collaboration "The Oak and the Laurel" was so highly regarded that it was a Grammy nominee for the 1996 "Best Traditional Folk Album", and occasionally functions as the comic foil for on-stage goings-on whenever things get too weighty. Originally from New England, Tom moved to Berkeley from Arizona, where he played many kinds of traditional and original music with Summerdog and Flying South; and San Diego, where he honed his swing chops with the Rhythm Rascals.
Be sure to check out Tom''s new critically-acclaimed solo album on Signature Sounds and DogBoy Records, "Jubilee". Featuring help from Laurie, Todd, Peter McLaughlin, Craig Smith, Mike Marshall, David Grier, Rob Ickes, Darol Anger and Herb Pedersen, the album is marked by Tom''s trademarks -versatility and diversity- featuring everything from straight ahead bluegrass to old-time country to selections from more contemporary realms.
Todd has been appearing regularly with Laurie since the summer of 1996. An original member of the seminal David Grisman Quintet, Todd has also played and recorded with the Tony Rice Unit; the Bluegrass Album Band; Phillips, Grier & Flinner; and Psychograss. Best known for his consummate bassmanship, Todd is also a talented mandolinist. Of late he has also carved out a second career as producer. "True Life Blues: a Tribute to Bill Monroe," produced by Todd for Sugar Hill Records, won the 1997 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. In addition to producing the all-star compilation tribute to Monroe, Todd played bass on virtually every cut, reminding us once again that he is one of the few real stylists on acoustic bass in our midst and is among the very best practitioners of that instrument on the traditional music scene today. He also produced recent albums for Kathy Kallick, David Grier, Matt Flinner, Noam Pikelney as well as a wonderful album of fiddle tunes featuring musical compadres Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Stuart Duncan, Tim O''Brien, Tony Trischka, Scott Nygaard, John Reischman, and Laurie Lewis, entitled "In The Pines." Most recently he has turned out two CDs by the trio of Phillips, Grier & Flinner as well as a new Psychograss project entitled "Now Hear This." Todd also appears prominently on many albums by others, including Tom''s and Laurie''s "The Oak and the Laurel" and Laurie''s "True Stories" and "Earth and Sky."
Craig grew up in San Bernardino, CA. He and Laurie first met and began playing music together at the Golden West Bluegrass Festivals in Norco in the mid-''70''s. When he relocated to North Carolina to be in the bluegrass music heartland. They kept in touch, and continued to record and tour together whenever possible. Craig''s impeccable taste, timing and tone have made him a much-sought-after studio player, and his playing has graced the albums of, to name a few, Jerry Douglas, Bobby Hicks, Herschel Sizemore and Ronnie Bowman. He has won Grammys for his work on the "Dobro Summit" and Todd Phillips'' "True Life Blues: the Songs of Bill Monroe." He can be heard on Laurie''s and Tom''s duet albums, "Guest House," "The Oak and the Laurel" and "Winter''s Grace", as well as Laurie''s "Love Chooses You" and "Earth and Sky." Craig is much in demand as a music teacher in and around Winston-Salem, NC, where he lives with his three children, Evan, Breanna and Caitlin.
Scott is North Carolina''s best-kept musical secret. A consummate musician on both guitar and banjo, his singing and easy-going temperament keep him in demand as a player throughout the Carolinas, most notably with the Sea Island Ramblers. Born and raised in Thomasville, NC (home of "The World''s Largest Chair", Scott began playing music and singing at about the age of five, and hasn''t quit yet. He and Craig Smith began playing music together shortly after Craig moved from California to North Carolina some twenty-five years ago. He can be heard singing and playing on Craig''s Rounder CD, ''Craig Smith". Until teaming up with Laurie and Tom, Scott had rarely been heard outside of his home state. He has been touring extensively with Laurie and Tom since the release of "Guest House," in the spring of 2004, delighting audiences everywhere with his beautiful lead playing; rock-solid rhythm; and, as one listener put it, "a voice that is just right- exactly what you want to hear." A renaissance man or a living anachronism, Scott gardens, cooks, hunts and fishes, plays music and spins a good story. He doesn''t own a computer and just bought an answering machine last year.
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