New Release! First RBR Release Ever – Maple Leaf Rag

April 26, 2024

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 BIG BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: NEW RELEASE 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…

Read More

New Look, New Band, New Website, New Release, and… a Puppy!!

March 25, 2024

It’s officially spring and we have snow on the ground here in Detroit. I just found out that I get to foster a puppy temporarily starting today and there is a LOT going on right now. Yesterday I provided music for the Detroit Jews for Justice annual Purim spiel, directed by Lindsay McCaw, and had a great time seeing some old friends. The spiel itself did a great job of drawing parallels between settlers in Palestine and landlords in Detroit. Buckle in for a full newsletter that reflects my full life! In this newsletter: New Band! “Aaron Jonah Lewis’s Ragtime Banjo Revival Trio” New Website! (Soft Launch) New Release! (Upcoming) Upcoming Gigs — Tour w/Willi Carlisle in May, Corn Potato Tour in July Banjo Chat Podcast w/Hilary Hawke New Videos Book Report: Ace, by Angela Chen; The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin New Band — “Aaron Jonah Lewis’s Ragtime Banjo Revival Trio” L to R: King Sophia, cello, vocals; Yours Truly, banjo, fiddle, vocals; Alex Belhaj, guitar, vocals. Photo credit: J. Lindsey Photography I am so excited to play with…

Read More

Doctors Without Borders Benefit Tomorrow

January 26, 2024

Greetings to all my fine feathered friends, and Happy New Year! I hope you’re staying warm and cozy this season. I made it back from retreat last week and I’ll just share one of the big lessons I learned: Meditation doesn’t have to be physically uncomfortable! For years I forced myself to sit cross legged on the floor and just deal with the pain. My teacher, who was sitting in a chair, saw me and said, “You look uncomfortable.” I was like, “Yeah, I know…” and soon after changed to sitting in a chair (with cushions!) and it led to great results. In this newsletter: Upcoming Gigs Banjo Dojo Lessons Availability Ragtime Banjo Revival New Video Dos Señoritas Book Report Upcoming Gigs Tomorrow! I’m playing a short set with Lindsay McCaw at 3pm for Mick Gavin’s annual Doctors Without Borders Benefit. This Tuesday, 1/30 – Ragtime Banjo Revival Trio at Alpino Restaurant with Abby Alwin, cello, and Alex Belhaj, guitar — 5pm doors, 6:30-7:30pm show, $10 Tickets (This place has been recognized as one of the best new American restaurants…

Read More

Happy New Year (Almost)!

December 12, 2023

I’m sitting backstage at The Ark in between our final two performances of the Ebird & Friends Holiday Show, trying to get everything done before I take off in about a week for another meditation retreat, and there is so much to share! In fact, there’s more to share than will fit in this newsletter — join my Patreon for all the exclusive content. This past month I played at the largest Masonic Temple in the world, lectured and performed at the New England Conservatory and at Ohio Northern University, taught a workshop at Berklee College of Music, performed Cupid’s Arrow in the 3rd annual Detroit Cantastoria Festival, started booking an acoustic roots series at Alpino (more details TBA), and I put on my first classic banjo student recital. To be honest, that last one may have been the  proudest moment for me since my last newsletter. In this newsletter: Dos Señoritas BANJO DOJO Selected New Videos Alpino “Cellar Roots” – New Concert Series in Detroit Ragtime Banjo Revival Update Book Reports: With a Banjo on Her Knee, Ani.Mystic, The Midnight Library Dos Señoritas…

Read More

Ragtime Banjo Revival at New England Conservatory 11/21

October 27, 2023

I’m feeling calm, grateful and happy to be in Ada, Ohio, preparing for my first orchestral concert and engaging with students and faculty promoting awareness and appreciation for the music and history of the banjo. Any time I leave Detroit I become hyperaware of my privilege. In the face of great suffering and injustice in the world I can only do my best with what’s in front of me and be present in each moment. (I am also contacting elected officials and posting memes and links on my IG if you want to follow me there.) In this newsletter: Livestream link for my first orchestral appearance as featured soloist on banjo at Ohio Northern University, tomorrow at 7:30pm, FREE! Tickets for Nov 12 Ragtime Banjo & Pipe Organ Fundraising Concert w/Stephen Warner and special guests Alex Belhaj and Abby Alwin at Detroit’s Masonic Temple Detroit Cantastoria Festival Lorin’s Classic Banjo Recital at the Polka Dot in Hamtramck 11/19 Hot News — I’m playing a concert at New England Conservatory 11/21! I appeared on my friend Yvonne’s (aka DJ Stashu) radio…

Read More

The Biggest Concert of My Life Is Next Month

September 22, 2023

+ Square Dances + Dos Senoritas + Lotus Wight + Corn Potato Tour and MORE Ahoy Pals! Last weekend I had the pleasure of playing whatever I felt like for five hours outdoors on a beautiful day at a historic Michigan farm and meeting some lovely people. The day before that I played a sweet little square dance with Detroit Square Dance Society (and I just posted some clips from that event to my Instagram and TikTok accounts), which reminds me to tell you about all the fabulous things I have coming up in the next couple of months — In this edition of Aaron Jonah Lewis Coolest Newsletter Ever: The TWO Biggest Concerts of My Life, Actually! Upcoming Detroit Square Dances Dos Señoritas Vinyl, CD and Download Pre-Orders Now Available Lotus Wight Folk Music Concert in Detroit Corn Potato String Band Tour – New Dates Added! Ragtime Banjo Revival Patreon NEW – Recipe Corner Book Report The Two Biggest Concerts of My Life – October 28 in Ada, OH, and Nov 12 at Detroit’s Masonic Temple This is not…

Read More

Corn Potato Tour Dates + Dos Señoritas Vinyl + Book Report + More

August 22, 2023

The working name for the upcoming tour is “I AM THOR” — I am open to other suggestions! ¡Hola! I got back to Detroit a few days ago from the Silk Road Global Musician Workshop, held at the New England Conservatory in Boston, which was a blast and a half. I met so many wonderful humans who also happen to be incredible musicians. I played banjo in a band with trumpet, sax, drums, nyckelharpa, led by Balla Kouyate, a Mandé balafon player. I played banjo and fiddle in a klezmer band led by Hankus Netsky with accordion, piano, kamanche (Persian fiddle), pipa, and guitar. I played fiddle in a band led by Indian violinist Kala Ramnath with accordion, piano, guitar, bandura, erhu, and percussion. Each band had three rehearsals before performing in front of a paying audience, so it was quite the thrill to get this totally new and challenging material ready. It was a real feast at the five-star buffet of musical delights! I came away from it reflecting on the purpose of music — I could easily devote…

Read More

Dos Señoritas Pre-order Now Available! + Upcoming Gigs + Silk Road Global Musician Workshop + New Videos + Tour Highlights

July 21, 2023

Don’t Get Weary, my traveling companions! I arrived home in Detroit after nearly 7 weeks on the road and although Jordan Is a Hard Road to Travel indeed I am so glad to have done it. See below for highlights from the tour and more, but first, the biggest news: Dos Señoritas: Classic Banjo Duets is now available for digital, CD and vinyl pre-order. When you pre-order the album you get two tracks right away. The vinyl is a Limited Edition of 100 10-inch records and will ship in October — check it out here Big News I’ve been accepted to the Silk Road Global Musician Workshop and I am heading there (New England Conservatory in Boston) in just a few weeks. Silk Road GMW is a musician training program modeled after the genesis of the Silkroad Ensemble. This experience is led by a group of all-star faculty artists, including musicians from the Silkroad Ensemble and their colleagues, teaching styles of music that represent a wide range of backgrounds and traditions. I’ll play in bands led by master musicians from…

Read More

Here We Gooooo…!

May 23, 2023

Additional UK/EU/West Coast Tour Dates Announced, New Videos, Book Reports, and more Last night we had a little bon voyage party for me and I got to see a lot of my local friends, plus I got to see a performance by my old band, Roochie Toochie & the Ragtime Shepherd Kings, which was amazing as always. Now I have just about a week to make sure I’m ready for this big adventure. Wish me luck, and come out and see me if you can. And if you can’t make sure to send three people in your place! In this newsletter: Tour Dates (Including Recently Announced and TBC) New Videos Book Report Tour Dates June 4 – Dundalk, Ireland – The Spirit Store June 6 – Belfast, N. Ireland – The American Bar June 9 – Peebles, Scotland – Eastgate Theatre and Arts Centre June 11 – Edinburgh, Scotland – House Concert – Message [email protected] for reservations and more info June 12 – Edinburgh, Scotland – City of Edinburgh Music School June 13 – Barnoldswick, England – Barnoldswick Music &…

Read More

Dos Señoritas Is (Unofficially) Here!

April 22, 2023

Announcing EU/UK and West Coast Tour Dates + New Videos + More Buenos tardes, amigos! I am so pleased to share the unofficial prerelease availability of physical CD copies of Dos Señoritas: Classic Banjo Duets, by myself and Ben Belcher! This album will not be officially released until October so for now the only way you can get one is to either come to a concert (see below or website calendar for upcoming tour dates) or send me a message requesting one or more copies, and in a few months I’ll be able to make digital pre-ordering available via bandcamp. I’m very happy with how they turned out, featuring beautiful artwork by Grace van’t Hof. In this newsletter: Update re: Emmett’s Bike Detroit, EU/UK and US West Coast Tour Dates (More TBA) New Ragtime Banjo Revival Website New Videos (A Lot of them) Banjoland, Here I Come (American Banjo Fraternity Spring Rally) Abolitionist Inside/Outside Reading Group Fundraiser Update re: Emmett’s Bike Thanks in part to your generous contributions Emmett will get his bike in a couple months, AND enough funds…

Read More