First-Ever Virtual Fiddle Contest Champ

A few weeks ago I participated in the world’s first-ever (as far as I know) virtual fiddle contest. Known as the Great Southern Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention it has been going on in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for many years. This was my first year competing and I won first place in the fiddle category. (I’m also proud to mention my sister, Hannah Lewis, won first place in the dance category and my friend Micah Spence, also in Detroit, won first place in the banjo category. Go Detroit!) This is a very strange time but I am heartened to see all the creative ways people are making the best of it.


In this email:
– Upcoming Shows (Online)!
– Join Me on Patreon
– Pizza Recipe
– Kenny Baker Challenge
– Bandcamp Day Is May 1
– Book Report


Upcoming Shows
First and foremost, I have a few online shows coming up. I will be playing some new material I’m very excited to share (original classic banjo arrangement of Russian Rag!!!!!) with special guest Grace van’t Hof. Here are the details:


Saturday, April 25, 8pm EDT – Earful in the Parlour Festival – You can purchase a ticket for my show, and for any of the other performances that will be part of Earful in the Parlour, for $12–-or you can purchase a Day Pass ($100 for all # performances)–by going to See my website or the Earful website to see the whole program of performers. Many wonderful acts!

Saturday, May 2, 8pm EDT – LOTUS Live-Stream Concerts –

The live-stream concerts will be available on the Lotus Facebook page and the Lotus YouTube page.



Wednesday, May 6, 8:30-9:30pm EDT – Quarantine Happy Hour on Facebook. Wonderful daily series put on by some dear friends. All the acts on there are great!


Join Me on Patreon
Patreon gives you a way to support me directly and enjoy patrons-only content. You can join for as little as $3 a month. If everyone on this mailing list joined for $3 a month I would be able to really put more energy into the music and keep sharing it with you. It’s a positive feedback loop!


Think about it. It’s probably the best way to help me keep doing what I’m doing, since my tour schedule has been cancelled and I don’t have much of a way to sell the CDs I had made for the tour. Try it and see if you like it, if not you can always unsubscribe.


Pizza Recipe
On my last tour before all this started, back in February, I got to visit an old friend in the Bronx, and I happened to visit on pizza night. The pizza was so good, and from scratch, so I had to get the recipe. In case you’re interested, here it is.


I just feel like sharing this since I just posted a couple photos of last night’s pizza to my Instagram account. I imagine many of us have been doing more cooking and baking than usual. I’ve really been enjoying it.


Kenny Baker Challenge
Some of you know that I’ve been obsessed with Kenny Baker ever since I started playing fiddle tunes so many years ago, and some of you may not know who Kenny Baker is…


Kenny Baker was the greatest and (hopefully) most influential bluegrass fiddler of all time, in my opinion. One of the true originals, he played with Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass, for many years, and he recorded many albums of original fiddle tunes that continue to inspire fiddlers young and old across the world.


I got my start learning fiddle music by studying Kenny Baker’s playing and his tunes, and just recently I’ve been called to share some of this deeply held knowledge, by way of the #kennybakerchallenge. You can find my videos on Instagram, Facebook, and if you want to actually see them all you can join me on Patreon!


May 1 Is Bandcamp Day
I relied on CDBaby since 2005 to sell my physical CDs and downloads, and they have now shut down their online store. Bandcamp is the only other option I know, and they take a bigger cut. BUT this May 1 they are giving up their cut to give 100% of sales to artists.


Save the date – May 1 is the day to buy stuff on bandcamp!


Here are the links to my music on bandcamp (and I plan to add more before May 1):


Book Report
Yes! I have been doing more reading…


I very quickly read the delightful and endearing novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon. It’s impressive without feeling show-offy and it’s entertaining and engaging as an unconventional mystery/adventure story narrated by a fifteen-year-old boy with special needs. A book like this is a wonderful way to connect with your sense of humanity. It’s truly beautiful, and funny, too. Highly recommended for everyone. It’s a quick read, too.


I just finished reading Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, by Lisa Randall. This is a not-too-dry nonfiction survey introduction to dark matter, cosmology, astrophysics, particle physics, etc. I like old stuff but this book is talking about some really old stuff, like just nearly as old as the universe stuff.


I enjoy abstract thinking and I found this book challenging and fascinating. Well worth the read, it also helps me to recognize that I’m more interested in things that involve human society a bit more directly. Here is a sample paragraph from the book:


“One place to look [for dark matter] would be in the decay of charged particles. The charged particles won’t decay solely into neutral dark matter particles because this process wouldn’t conserve charge. By detecting the additional charged particles that must be present in the final state, which won’t carry the same energy and momentum of the initially decaying particle since unseen dark matter has carried energy and momentum away, the existence of a feebly interacting particle with a particular set of interactions might be established.”


I also want to mention some wonderful poems I’ve been enjoying lately, by my childhood friend Andrew Field. At the start of the self-isolation times I started having vivid dreams every night, and the first one I remembered very clearly, a music dream, included Andrew and his brother Garrett, who were a couple of my musical pals when I was in grade school. It felt like the dream had a message for me, it was so clear and yet so incomplete, so I had to reach out and share with both of them. It was great to reconnect after so many years, and Andrew sent me some of his poems, which felt familiar to me, almost comforting, and almost like a continuation of the dream I had. Check out his work on his website.


I hope you all enjoy reading poems every now and then. A novel can be like a meal, where you sit down and see what you have in front of you. A book of poems is like a buffet, or maybe dim sum, where you can just take your time and have a bit of this and a bit of that, and really chew on it for as long as you like.


The next book I have in the queue is about indigenous cultures and the transmission of oral traditions, which you may guess concerns me and my activities a bit more directly. I’ll tell you all about it in the next book report.