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Laurie Lewis

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Laurie Lewis learned to play the violin as a child in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a teenager in the 1960s, she immersed herself in the city's thriving folk scene and fell in love with the innovative bluegrass of Flatt & Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, and especially Doc Watson. She won numerous fiddling contests during the 1970s and was in and out of assorted area combos. Together with friend Kathy Kallick, Lewis co-founded the pioneering bluegrass group Good Ol' Persons in 1975 and remained with the popular group until 1979. She then formed the Grant Street String Band before bowing as a solo artist with 1986's Restless Rambling Heart (Flying Fish), which mixed old-timey sounds with contemporary bluegrass and folk. Love Chooses You followed in 1989. The 1990 album Singin' My Troubles Away was attributed to Laurie Lewis & Grant Street and featured guitarist Scott Nygaard, banjoist Tony Furtado, and mandolin player Tom Rozum. Lewis reteamed with Kallick for 1991's Together, which was also the first of many releases for Rounder. After the release of True Stories in 1993, Lewis and her bandmates were in a serious auto accident. She took a few years off but returned with Oak and the Laurel, which featured a series of duets with mandolinist Rozum. (The album was nominated for a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy in 1996.) Seeing Things appeared in 1998 and focused on Lewis' considerable talents as a songwriter and singer. A year later she issued the rollicking Laurie Lewis & Her Bluegrass Pals. In the early 2000s, Lewis made guest contributions to other artists' albums, devoted some time to her second love, the acoustic bass, and dabbled in producing. By 2004, she was ready to return to her own recordings and released Guest House with Rozum. Rozum was back for 2006's The Golden West, which was credited to Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands. ~ Johnny Loftus

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