Ragtime Banjo Revival, Pt. 1

November 17, 2021

It’s been over a week since I got back from the Banjo Gathering and I am still buzzing with the energy of that experience. Part of the thrill of the Banjo Gathering is seeing friends and exploring this very specific field of study we find ourselves drawn into. Another important part for me is simply being part of a group of people who share understanding.   For me it’s the way we understand the importance of acknowledging the uncomfortable parts of our history in order to be able to move forward. In other words, we all know and can speak openly with each other about the slave trade origins of the banjo and the ways it was used as a prop in minstrel shows to perpetuate  demeaning stereotypes of  African Americans, for example.   This isn’t the only group I’ve found that gives me that special feeling, I am fortunate to have found a few. I hope you all know the feeling of being around people with whom you share very specific understanding.   Greetings and Welcome! In this email…

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Joe Troop at The Ark 9/21 + Public Old Time Jam in Detroit

September 14, 2021

Did you know that getting a tetanus shot can result in side effects? I was helping out on a roofing job last week. I didn’t want to get up on the roof and I also didn’t want to demo the old lead paint-covered walls in the house (since my beard prevents a tight seal with a respirator) so I stayed outside to gather shingles and tarpaper and put them in the dumpster.   Within about ten minutes I had stepped on a rusty nail deep enough to draw blood. We got the wound cleaned up and bandaged, and I spent the rest of the day looking for a place to get a tetanus shot that would be covered by my insurance. Long story short, I got a tetanus shot at the local drug store for $60 (no insurance coverage) and I’m feeling fine. And I’ve experienced some unexpected side effects, i.e., a mild case of the runs. Funs!   The main thrust of this email is twofold, but I have some bonus book reports and other tidbits to share as…

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If Crazy Horse Were Here Today

August 5, 2021

This has been a busy time for me despite having very little paid work. I’ve been rehearsing with a new ragtime band I put together, an organist, and the Detroit Party Marching Band, all of whom are contributing to my current recording project. And in the past week not one but two people close to me were suddenly hospitalized. (Both of them are recovering, for which I’m grateful.) So I don’t have a lot of gigs to share but here’s what I do have: – A Gig + More in Feb (with Corn Potato!!!) – A Video I’m In – Bandcamp Friday Is Tomorrow – Join Patreon – Book Reports   My One Big Gig + More in Feb Saturday, Sep 4, at May’s Barn (2439 Arthur Rd, Remus, MI) 7pm, $20 suggested donation — I played here last fall and it was simply quite magical. If you live within 100 or so miles of this place I’d say it’s worth it. We will certainly be hanging out afterwards, too. And in February the Corn Potato String Band will ride…

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New LSB Video Is a Work of ART + Gigs & More Videos + Book Report

June 6, 2021

We have entered warm/hot season! Time to prepare the ice hankies and strategically plan to open windows and operate box fans when the temperature is low and the air pollution meter reads low as well. On the plus side, warming up to practice banjo is much quicker than in the winter.   Big Video Times! In this email my primary goal is to get you to click on this link and watch the Bluegrass Situation premier of the new music video for our original ragtime piece, Rivka Road Rag, by my band, Lovestruck Balladeers. It’s such a beautiful piece of cinema, created by Horatio Baltz, who also made our other music videos. So, that’s the main thing. And if the Bluegrass Situation link doesn’t work for some reason here is the Vimeo link.   More Videos Other than that, I have some other fun videos to share from my Tunes from the Bag series I’ve been posting to all the social media platforms that I use (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok).   Patreon I currently have 46 Patreon subscribers and…

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Shows This Weekend + Book Report

April 23, 2021

Snowy Spring Greetings, This will be a short newsletter but I do have a few online shows coming up soon: Upcoming Shows Tomorrow! Saturday, 4/24 I’m playing The Blacksmith Shop online series with Rollie Tussing (guitar, vocals), Ross Huff (trumpet), and Serge van der Voo (bass). Register to attend and there is also a FB event if you like that sort of thing.   Also this weekend is the first annual New American Banjo Festival, very exciting! My set is on Sunday, 4/25, at 8:10pm Eastern time, with Cameron Celestia joining me on piano, but the whole weekend will be full of fantastic performers and discussions, all online. Here is a FB event for this one.   And I already mentioned Banjopalooza at Fiddle Tunes, the first weekend in July. More info on my website.   Recording Project So, other than these I don’t have anything else confirmed yet but there are a few maybes! And I am slowly working on getting my team together for the next recording project.   No big hurry there, as I still have 800…

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Banjopalooza Awaits

March 27, 2021

Warmest Greetings, I write to you from self-isolation due to recent contact I had with someone who tested positive for Covid. I just got my test results back — negative — but I was advised to self-isolate all the same. Please be careful — Even if you’ve had both doses (I’ve had one so far) you can still spread the virus. We are so close to beating this thing, let’s see it through to the end and keep everyone safe so we can once again enjoy live music and dancing! In this newsletter I have a few exciting items for you: Bandcamp Friday is April 6! Fiddle Tunes at Centrum Oh No. Oh No. Oh No No No No No — I Have a TikTok… Tunes from the Bag Picky Fingers Theme Music and a Book Report Bandcamp Friday is April 6! By now you know the meaning of “Bandcamp Friday” — It’s the one day a month the benevolent overlords at Bandcamp allow us pathetic artists to keep 100% of the donations our fans contribute. (Any other day they…

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[Aaron Jonah Lewis] New Videos Series Tunes from the Bag! Plus, Upcoming Show, Bandcamp Friday, and MORE

March 3, 2021

It’s Wednesday and the snow is almost all gone. Has winter gone so fast? I love the winter because it makes me strong. As I told a friend earlier today, we don’t get strong sitting in a hot tub drinking lemonade. But if we’re also lifting weights at the same time then maybe we do get strong while sitting in a hot tub drinking lemonade…   No matter. Next week I will try downhill skiing for the first time since I was 16. I had a blast then and didn’t hurt myself, but I’m older now… I never really learned how to stop back then. I would just go straight and aim for something soft to run into. I’m looking forward to having some fun on the slope/s this time, and once again not getting hurt.   In this newsletter we have – Bandcamp Friday is THIS FRIDAY – Upcoming Show – One Recent Show – New Fiddle Tune Series: Tunes From The Bag – Book Report – Recommended Listening   Bandcamp Friday is THIS FRIDAY It’s happening again! Bandcamp…

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Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite Song

January 15, 2021

Who else went for a swim first thing on New Year’s Day? Grace and I have been getting in the Detroit River once a week, and last week we had to break up some thin ice before we could get all the way in. I’ve heard there are health benefits to doing this but for us it’s just a cheap thrill since we can’t get together with friends for square dances and potlucks during the pandemic and we both gave up substance abuse years ago. In this email I have four things to share:  – New Video Out Now: Listen To The Mockingbird  – Yoga With Melanie This Sunday  – Live Stream Concert From The Blacksmith Shop Next Saturday 1/23  – New Classic Banjo Lessons Series on YouTube   New Video Out Now: Listen To The Mockingbird My new video is from the concert at the G.A.R. Hall a couple months ago with Cameron Celestia on piano, and this is a special piece because it’s an “Air Varie” arrangement by Hoosier banjo virtuoso Parke Hunter (1876-1912) of Listen To The…

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Singalong Zoom This Monday + Santa Is Real + New Videos (Dec 2020)

January 14, 2021

Hello and a ho ho ho!   I hope we’re all feeling jolly, 2020 is almost over and things are probably going to get better soon. I only have a few announcements for you this month —   – Zoom Singalong This Monday 12/21 – Santa Is Real – Bandcamp Fridays Continue in 2021 – New Live Concert Videos and Instructional Series (Coming Soon)   Zoom Singalong This Monday 12/21 This Monday at 7pm I am playing a singalong concert on Zoom with Keva Celestia and Grace van’t Hof as a service to our local community here in Southwest Detroit — Since it’s online I am happy to be able to invite you, too! This is the Zoom link for joining at 7pm on Monday the 21st. Do not try this link before 7pm on Monday, it will not work.   Click here if you’d like to find out more about the Southwest Detroit TimeBank and consider making a donation. We also have a Facebook link for the event here, if you’d like to share it.   Santa Is Real…

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Surgery! (Nov 2020)

January 14, 2021

This Thanksgiving weekend I am thankful for so many things. Right now I am so thankful for the ability to breath through my nose again! About a week ago I underwent surgery, a septoplasty to correct a deviated septum that had been blocking 90% of my nasal passage since birth or early childhood. This was the first time I’d ever been ‘put under’ with general anaesthesia or been through any major procedure, and all I can say is wow! I am not taking anything for granted. I’m going to give a brief description of what it was like for me at the end of the email to spare anyone who doesn’t want to hear the details. Suffice to say I am doing fine now, feeling very grateful for science and medicine and Medicaid and the basic goodness of humans and the amazing power of the human body to heal. I’m used to a pretty active lifestyle so suddenly doing nothing at all for 4-5 days after the operation was a big change for me, but I think the ‘new normal’…

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