Back from Banjoland



I’m back home in Detroit after a few months of tour and travel, and I’ll be here until January. I’m so grateful for the smooth successes of the Corn Potato String Band and  Lovestruck Balladeers tours, as well as the wonderful solo show at the GAR Hall with Alex Belhaj and Grace van’t Hof. In this newsletter we have:


– A Few Upcoming Gigs
– I’m Available for Lessons
– Report from the Banjo Gathering + Concert Video
– Ragtime Banjo Revival Progress Report
– Zombie Stringband
– Book Report


A Few Upcoming Gigs
– Saturday, Nov 12 – The Detroit Club w/Vlad Tovbin and Alex Belhaj – FREE
– Fri/Sat, Nov 18-19 – Detroit Cantastoria Fest at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
– Saturday, Nov 26 – Detroit Shipping Company – solo show – FREE
– Thursday, Dec 1 – Ann Arbor District Library – solo show – FREE
– Thur-Sat, Dec 8-10 – Ebird & Friends Holiday Shows at The Ark
– Friday, Dec 16 – Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch – w/Alex Belhaj and Grace van’t Hof playing music from Ragtime Banjo Revival – supporting Ronny Tibbs & the 305s’ Release Party
More details at my online calendar

And that’s all I have booked until 2023, and there is basically nothing booked for 2023 so far…  and so,


I’m Available for Lessons
If you or anyone you know is interested in individually-tailored music lessons, online or in person, I am available for lessons in fiddle (old time, bluegrass, country, jazz, improvisation), banjo (old time, bluegrass, jazz, classic), mandolin and guitar. Contact me directly for rates and availability.


Report from the Banjo Gathering + Concert Video
The Banjo Gathering was in Baltimore this year and it was such an inspiring experience! I’m so privileged to have been invited to participate and contribute, and to collaborate with so many amazing musicians in the concert — Tony Trischka, Cynthia Sayer, Alex Lacquement, Jordon Stanley, and Grace van’t Hof, to name a few. Here’s the full concert video for you to enjoy.
Ragtime Banjo Revival Progress Report – *MILESTONE ALERT*
It’s official — we have a fiscal sponsor! Detroit Theater Organ Society — This means people can make tax-deductible donations to the project. Smaller donations can be made to me directly via or Venmo @aaronjonahlewis and larger donations can be made to the Detroit Theater Organ Society by clicking the “Donate” link on their page and *very important* adding a note that says “Ragtime Banjo Revival” or “RBR.”


I am looking for private individuals and foundations to help make this happen. If anyone wants more information about the budget and schedule please write to me directly. And anyone who wants to offer continued support on a smaller, sliding scale, please consider becoming a patron via Patreon.


The other big milestone is that we have just completed all the recording for the project! So I have no more excuses for not devoting myself entirely to fundraising. My plan is to reach out to everyone I possibly can who may be able to help, either by contributing directly or by connecting me with people who can contribute.


Most of the funds raised will go towards paying fair compensation for the 30 musicians and engineers who invested their time, energy and talents to make this project possible, and most of the rest of the funds will go towards publicity, promotion and marketing to get this project as much attention as possible. The rest of the funds are going towards manufacturing costs, album artwork, videography, and some other smaller things. I’m also looking into hiring a consultant to help create a release schedule/strategy. Basically, I have to pay for all the things record labels used to do for their artists.


Zombie Stringband
When I used to play with The Hot Seats we would go all out every year for our Halloween show complete with skits, new original songs, videos and special effects. One of these shows was the subject of my one-time appearance at The Moth when the theme was “Mistakes”…


Our biggest, last, and most involved Halloween show involved multiple other bands and artists in Richmond, VA, and inspired a series of new songs which we recorded at the same time as the last album I did with them, Return to Camp Candy Temptation Island. And now, fifteen years later, the Zombie Stringband EP is released! Free streaming on bandcamp.


There is a LOT more to the story of this Halloween show, amazing photos and videos and stories, and maybe I’ll get into it one day when I’m writing my memoirs…
Book Report
Other than the Best American Short Stories of 2019, the only book I finished reading since last time was Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. This book was very interesting and well worth the read but I have to say the tone of the writing was informal to the point of being almost sassy at times, which I found distracting and often annoying.


The content more than made up for it, though. I would recommend this book to anyone who considers themselves to be human, especially if you enjoy thinking about what life could have been like (or could be like in the future) beyond this particular moment of history which we occupy right now.


I’m almost finished reading The Faggots & Their Friends Between Revolutions, by Larry Mitchell, with illustrations by Ned Asta. This is a beautiful book that was given to me by my friend Dr. Boyfriend at a Halloween party. It may be hard for some people to relate to the contents of this book but I would still recommend it to everyone. It’s an easy read, beautifully illustrated, lighthearted yet serious and educational as well.
As I am finishing this up I just heard my dog Lefty sneeze and fart at the same time, which I think must be a good omen!