New Release! First RBR Release Ever – Maple Leaf Rag

I’ve been so busy emailing radio people that I now have 30 minutes to write this but you’ll forgive my typos, won’t you? What an exciting day!

In this newsletter:
– Big big announcement: New Release!
– New Videos
– Gig Announcement: New Corn Potato String Band Lineup?!
– Queer Square Dancing in Detroit is BACK!
– All the Other Upcoming Gigs
– Join the Patreon “Community”
– Book Report: The Biology of Transcendence, by Joseph Chilton Pearce


Announcing… The first release (of many) from Ragtime Banjo Revival

Now streaming on all platforms and available for free download from Bandcamp

Bandcamp download comes with printable 8.5″x11″ PDF sheet music notation and banjo tablature. Also available from the shop — beautiful high-quality full-color 9″x12″ prints — Tablature and standard notation for banjo, with notes on the music and album credits included on the back cover. Huge thanks to Alex Belhaj, Grace van’t Hof, Cami Celestia, and Abby Alwin for playing with me, and to Ben Solomon for recording and Dave Schall for mixing and mastering. Big thanks to River Honey Studios for the beautiful cover art. And special thanks to everyone who donated to help make this happen (and yes, you can donate, too.)

New Videos

There are two kinds of new videos for me to share here. The first is a video that Jason McCaffrey and I have been working on for a few years (literally) that you may have already seen if you’ve had a look at the new Ragtime Banjo Revivalwebsite that Cory Marie Podielski did such an amazing job putting together with me. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do so NOW)

HERE is the video we made. It’s called a “sizzle.” That’s industry lingo I guess, but it’s sure fun to say. It’s like a preview for the whole project. Check it ouuuuuuut!

And now, the other kind of video: I recently had the pleasure of meeting Logan McCarthy and becoming one of his first featured artists for his MI Folk Sessions series on YouTube. Here are the videos we made, at Detroit’s Masonic Temple:

MI Folk Session Aaron Jonah Lewis | “Banjo Frolic” | MI Folk Sessions

Aaron Jonah Lewis | “Old Richmond” | MI Folk Sessions

I was thinking about sharing the beautifully edited video I just got from recording last summer at the Cité de la Musique Paris Philharmonie but they asked me not to share it until they get around to releasing it… So I’ll just put these unlisted links here, here and here for those of you who are insanely curious…

Gig Announcement: New Corn Potato String Band Lineup?!

YES, although we are still touring with Original Flavor Corn Potato this summer (see dates below) we have a new, all-Michigan lineup to announce! Alex Belhaj on guitar and vocals, Rachel Pearson on bass and vocals, Yours Truly on fiddle, banjo, and vocals, and Lindsay McCaw on fiddle, uke, and vocals. More to come!

We are playing Monday, June 3, at Detroit Street Filling Station in Ann Arbor, 6-8pm, free show on the patio

Queer Square Dancing in Detroit is BACK!

It only took six months but we found a venue that’s excited to have us and we have TWO queer potluck + square dances to announce coming up in June:

  • Sunday, June 2, 4pm-8pm, at Vámonos, 4444 W. Vernor, Detroit More info and FB event (like and share)
  • Saturday, June 22, 8pm-10pm at Howdy Fest III at The Old Miami, Detroit Tickets

Looking forward to many more in the coming months

All the Other Upcoming Gigs

Starting next week I’m doing a weekend of solo appearances in OH and IN:

Cleveland, OH – Thur, May 2 at The Treelawn – Tickets
Chagrin Falls, OH – Fri, May 3, at The Village Blacksmith – This is a semi-private house concert in Chagrin Falls with very limited seating available. For more info and to reserve a ticket call 440-543-4977
Columbus, OH – Sat, May 4, at Central Ohio Folk Festival, FREE EVENT
Fort Wayne, IN – Sun, May 5, Fiddle Workshop and House Concert, Email [email protected] for more info and to make reservations.

And then I’m going on tour in the northeastern USA supporting Willi Carlisle!

May 7, 2024 Tue Buffalo New York The 9th Ward at Babeville
May 8, 2024 Wed Toronto Ontario The Drake Underground
May 9, 2024 Thu Ottawa Ontario Dominion Tavern
May 10, 2024 Fri Montreal Quebec Bar Le Ritz PDB
May 11, 2024 Sat South Burlington Vermont Higher Ground Showcase Lounge
May 14, 2024 Tue Brooklyn New York Baby’s All Right
May 15, 2024 Wed Philadelphia Pennsylvania Johnny Brenda’s
May 17, 2024 Fri Portsmouth New Hampshire 3S Artspace
May 18, 2024 Sat Portland Maine SPACE Gallery
May 19, 2024 Sun Woodstock New York Levon Helm Studios

Then I’ll be back in time to get ready for the BIG DEBUT of my new Ragtime Banjo Revival Trio!

May 24 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark Tickets More Info FB event

and it’s not too soon to start getting excited for the Corn Potato String Band Midwestern tour that’s happening from the end of July into early August — More dates TBA but for now we have

08/01/24 – Fort Atkinson, WI, Cafe Carpe BUY TICKETS
08/02/24 – Shawano, WI, Cotter Creek House Concerts 5:30 doors, Showtime 7pm Cotter Creek House Concert Series at the home of Joel Kroenke, email [email protected] or call (715) 853-6879 for more info and to make reservations
08/03/24 – Madison, WI, Sugar Maple Music Festival
08/04/24 – Madison, WI, Sugar Maple Music Festival

Join the Patreon “Community”

If you made it this far into my newsletter and you still haven’t joined my little exclusive world on Patreon all I can say is, Come on! It’s less than the price of a cup of coffee. In fact, you can join for free. It’s just like being a subscriber to this newsletter except you get early access to new content and the warm feeling in your heart that only comes from knowing you’re keeping precious musical gems from being relegated to the dustbins of history!

Book Report: The Biology of Transcendence, by Joseph Chilton Pearce

This book was sitting on my shelf for a few years before I finally cracked it and let me tell you, she’s a beauty! This book is full of mind-altering knowledge coming from scientific studies across many disciplines that just doesn’t fit the mainstream narrative of what keeps capitalism working. In that way it reminded me of The Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. Similarly, this book was also written from the privileged position of a cishet white man. I can recommend it pretty highly for anyone who enjoys mind blowing nonfiction.

I also want to recommend this article I picked up from Rayna Gellert’s newsletter, by Ted Gioia, about the state of culture, 2024. Kind of an eye opener and not in a very happy way, but an important (and quick) read.

OK, I did it! Blasting this off now and will share to website and social media later. Thank you!