Laurie Lewis Releases TREES — Her 24th Album

Article Contributed by Dreamspider Pu… | Published on Friday, May 31, 2024

With five decades of music-making to her credit, multi-GRAMMY nominee Laurie Lewis has emerged as both a successor and contemporary of the many greats in bluegrass, old-time, and folk music as a uniquely singular vocalist, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Unafraid to venture beyond established boundaries in genres revered for their adherence to tradition, authenticity, and the canon of the forebearers, Lewis occupies a unique, superlative niche in American roots music that is all her own.

Lewis' 24th album, TREES, presents a profound and multifaceted perspective with life, loss, nature, and grief that is intricate and rich. While deeply ruminative, this set includes danceable music that drips with community and never feels burdened by its subject matter or apparent solitude. These songs—seven originals and a handful of covers—aren’t too concerned with genre, especially given that bluegrass and old-time tend to spout from Lewis like a bubbling mountain spring, in so many distinct manifestations. Self-produced, TREES is out now on Lewis’ own Spruce and Maple Music label.

Well received by critics, songs from TREES have been featured in a variety of publications including The Bluegrass Situation (“Long Gone” video premiere), Folk Alley (“Trees” video premiere), AmericanaUK (“Texas Wind” song premiere), Bluegrass Today (“The Banks Are Covered in Blue” song premiere), and Cowgirl Magazine. The album is on the rise on the Americana, Bluegrass, and Folk music charts.

Her band has chameleonic quality, varying a bit across the entire sequence. It includes Lewis on guitar and lead vocals throughout (along with fiddle on one track), Hasee Ciaccio on bass, Brandon Godman on fiddle, Patrick Sauber on banjo, and George Guthrie on guitar and banjo. Special guests on the album include Andrew Marlin on mandolin, Sam Reider on accordion, and Nina Gerber on guitar.

TREES expresses the emotional turmoil in Lewis’ life at the time of its making. On the upside, there is the unbridled joy of a walk in the mountains, where she spent many a happy day while unable to play music communally during the COVID pandemic. The flip side of that period—and its long wake—includes a six-month period of grappling with the loss of her singing voice, and most notably, the landmark of creating a recording without her musical and life partner, Tom Rozum. The pair met and began making music together in 1986 and for every album since 1989’s Love Chooses You they’ve been credited alongside each other, often in duet.

Laurie says, “Tom has developed Parkinson’s, and is unable to play his instruments at this point. So this collection represents a difficult transition in my musical life. Think of it as ‘Music Minus One,’ for all you mandolin players. Of course, Tom continues to be present in the music in many ways, besides his harmony vocals and his beautiful cover artwork."

TREES is not simply a metaphor or parable, it’s not merely an introspective, emotional inventory, it’s not a performative challenge to the powers and systems that be — powers and systems that leave us alone to encounter, interpret, and reckon with such grief and loss. This LP is all of these things together, at the same time, held in place by a remarkable linchpin and a gorgeous, maternal tree under which all of us can learn, grow, and flourish. Each of us on this beautiful, complicated Earth should count ourselves lucky to encounter trees as stately and as nurturing as Laurie Lewis.

Laurie Lewis Tour Dates

6/9 - CBA Summer Music Camp - Nevada County Fairgrounds, CA+
6/14 - CBA Father's Day Bluegrass Festival Midnight @ Ponderosa Hall - Nevada County Fairgrounds, CA&
6/18  - RiverWonderGrass - Yampa River, CO%
6/28 - Wischemann Hall - Sebastopol, CA^
6/29 - Bootleg Music Fest and Tiki Lounge - Sacramento, CA^
7/4 - World One Fest - El Cerrito, CA^
7/11 - High Mountain Hay Fever - Westcliffe, CO*
7/19 - Darrington Bluegrass Festival - Darrington, WA*
8/14 - Valhalla - Tahoe, CA*
8/16 - Rancho Nicasio - Nicasio, CA*
8/17 - The Sound Union - Palo Alto, CA*
8/29 - San Miguel Mission - Santa Fe, NM*
8/31 - Four Corners Folk Festival - Pagosa Springs, CO*
9/1 - The Old Church - Corrales, NM*
9/17 - Bluegrass on Whitewater - Rogue River, OR >
9/22 - FreshGrass Festival - North Adams, MA*
9/27 - IBMA WOB Festival - Raleigh NC*
10/5 - Hardly Strictly Bluegrass - San Francisco, CA*
11/2 - McCloud River Mountain Music - McCloud, CA*
11/8 - The Old Steeple - Ferndale, CA*
11/9 - Soper Reese Theatre - Lakeville, CA*
11/30 - Freight & Salvage - Berkeley, CA*

*Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands
& Laurie Lewis & Friends Celebrating Women in Bluegrass
% w/ George Guthrie
^ w/ Nina Gerber
> w/ Brandon Godman