Spruce & Maple Music
Laurie Lewis is a national treasure, one that keeps giving us fantastic music across the bluegrass and folk spheres of influence. On And Laurie Lewis, what started as a simple project to record duets with some of her favorite musicians, the diva of West Coast bluegrass has emerged with a CD filled with great songs, wonderful singing, and glorious playing from the likes of Molly Tuttle, Tom Rozum, Mike Marshall, Tatiana Hargreaves, Craig Smith, Kathy Kallick, Todd Phillips, and more.
Much as she imagined it, this album brings the listener into closely held duets that feel truly intimate and shared. The opening cut “You Are My Flower” gives us Molly Tuttle channeling Clarence White’s timing and syncopation like he did on “I Am A Pilgrim,” coupled with her lovely, lighthearted vocals blending gorgeously with Laurie’s darker, time-worn alto voice. Once again, Tuttle shows the bluegrass world a new direction for the future of flatpicking guitar.
Tunes roll off this CD like High Sierra snowmelt filling rivers and streams with fresh hope. The Cindy Walker tune “Baby, That Would Sure Go Good” reveals Lewis’s love for Western Swing, with her on fiddle and the incomparable Todd Phillips on bass, complete with a bass solo that Eldon Shamblin would have loved playing behind. Similarly, she joins forces with former bandmate Barbara Higbee to render a Golden Age jazz blues tune, “Ain’t Nobody Got The Blues Like Me.”
One of the great features of this project is that Laurie made a point of including detailed notes on the instruments each musician played here, including a wonderful story on how Phillips acquired and modified the German double-bass that became his constant companion through so many great sessions. While not what purists would call bluegrass, Laurie’s music is timeless, effortless, and enchanting. And we’re all the richer for her releasing this project for the world to savor. (www.laurielewis.com)DJM