Laurie Lewis, Grammy Award-winning musician, and Tom Rozum, will appear in concert at Princeville Church of the Pacific at 7:30 tonight.
It promises to be an an evening of fine acoustic bluegrass, Americana, indie, folk and swing.
The musical duo has performed on Kauai almost every year for the last 15 years.
“One of the things that actually resonates with a lot of people in the islands is a lot of my music is tied to the natural world,” Lewis told TGI in a previous interview. “That’s a major focus in my music, and it seems to be a major focus in a lot of people’s lives who live on Kauai.”
Performing since 1974 and nominated for the best bluegrass recording Grammy in 2017, the musician from California is also an educator, teaching at camps, festivals and workshops in the U.S. and Canada.
She contributed fiddle and vocals on “True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe,” that won a Grammy in 1997 for best bluegrass album.
“I hope that it (bluegrass) always retains a feeling of community about it, a feeling of give and take within the music, and also I hope it stays as sort of a vehicle to sing songs that really speak to ordinary people’s lives,” Lewis said.
A pioneering woman in bluegrass and Americana, Laurie has paved the way for many young women today, always guided by her own love of traditional music and the styles of her heroes that came before. She is a prolific songwriter and has recorded over 20 albums of her music.
At the same time, she has steadfastly followed her personal muse and remained open to new influences.
Lewis has appeared at the Grand Ole Opry and several times with Garrison Keillor on his radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion.” She was the program director for a music camp on the Oregon coast called Bluegrass at the Beach, which she has done with Rozum, from 1992 until 2005. She was director of Bluegrass Week at the Augusta Heritage Arts Workshops for 10 years, from 1986 until 1996.
Lewis’s songs have been recorded by others, including Kathy Mattea, and she has accompanied Holly Near. She has been invited to accompany many other artists, including Kato Sanden, Linda Ronstadt and Ralph Stanley. Besides producing her own CDs, Lewis’s skill in the recording studio have resulted in her being asked to produce recordings for a number of other artists, including Scott Nygaard, Erica Wheeler, The T Sisters, Alice Gerrard, American Nomad, Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman, Ray Bierl and Diedre McCalla. She is also in demand as a teacher of fiddle and guitar, vocals and songwriting.
Ronstadt speaks for many when she says of Laurie: “Her voice is a rare combination of grit and grace, strength and delicacy. Her stories are always true.”
“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,” wrote Sam Bush, founder of the New Grass Revival.
“As a fiddler, she could be from the 1940s or from 2010. It’s timeless. 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,” said Bush.
Lewis has toured widely in many parts of the world, including most European countries, China and Japan. When not on tour, she makes her home in Berkeley, California.
She considers herself lucky to slowly have grown an audience over decades of playing. Since 1986, Lewis has recorded nearly 20 albums with her musical partner, Rozum.
“Tom Rozum’s a wonderful singer and mandolinist who has drawn a lot of inspiration from music outside of the bluegrass genre,” Lewis said. “His instrumental interpretations open up our music in a lot of different ways.”
“We try not to just fit in the bluegrass box.”
“As soon as I heard bluegrass as a teenager, it just really spoke to me,” Lewis said. “It just resonated within me somehow, and I had to follow.”
The internationally renowned singer, songwriter, fiddler, band leader, producer and educator has twice been voted female vocalist of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
“My music voice is unique to me because it’s my window on the world,” Lewis said.
Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.
Kauai Ticket Outlets are Hanalei Surf, Hanalei Strings and Things, Harvest Market, Magic Dragon Toys Princeville, Health Hut Kilauea, Island Soap Kilauea, Kauai Music and Sound Kapaa, Papayas Health Food Kapaa and Scotty’s Music Lihue.