December 4, 2018

Aloha, I got back from the remote Hawaiian island of Kauai a few days ago (with a truly excellent stop over in Toronto on my way home – see previous post from April, 2017, “I Heart Canada”) and when I stepped outside from the train from the airport in Toronto and breathed in that cool winter air I felt like I was home again. So I’m finally back for more than a day or two and I’ll catch you up on everything: – Highlights from Kauai – Highlights from Banjo Gathering – Highlights from Lovestruck Balladeers Tour – New Videos – Upcoming Stuff – Book Report HIGHLIGHTS FROM KAUAI So, Kauai. It’s an interesting place. In terms of the landscape and plant life it was sort of an Alice in Wonderland experience for me. Dramatically beautiful views everywhere you look, avocado, mango, citrus, passionfruit (“lilikoi” in Hawaiian), coconut, papaya, and even more kinds of fruit trees growing everywhere, no predators or fearsome creatures anywhere unless you count the ubiquitous roosters. (I heard about these giant venomous centipedes but luckily never…

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September 12, 2018

During the layover in Iceland on my way home from UK tour I was very excited to visit the duty-free shop and buy lots of Icelandic licorice (or liquorice, as it is sometimes written). As I sat at the gate happily munching away I recalled how complete disgusted I was by the stuff when I was a child, and reflected on how it’s now one of my favorite candies. Did the change happen suddenly or gradually? It doesn’t matter. The point is, people change, tastes change, you change, sometimes suddenly and sometimes so slowly you don’t notice it’s happening until years after it’s happened. I’m in a bit of a hurry today as I’ve only been home a couple days and I’m leaving again tomorrow so this may be a relatively short one. But there are some fun surprises in store for you– – Upcoming Tour Dates – Highlights from UK Tour – New Corn Potato Music Videos! – Book Report UPCOMING TOUR DATES with Corn Potato Duo (Lewis/McCaw) Sep 13 – Binghamton, NY – House Concert Sep 14 –…

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[Aaron Jonah Lewis] …Is Sexy

July 8, 2018

I was just driving home from a gig in Detroit and thinking I’d like to see a bumper sticker that says SAFE DRIVING IS SEXY. (Drivers in Detroit are insane.) And then I started thinking what other boring, obvious things could be said to be sexy on a bumper sticker — KINDNESS IS SEXY, GOOD DENTAL HYGIENE IS SEXY, REDUCING YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT IS SEXY, RESPECT IS SEXY — and then I start getting into what wouldn’t work at all — JUSTICE IS SEXY, MASHED POTATOES IS SEXY, KITTENS IS SEXY, FRIENDSHIP IS SEXY — and the borderline misogynistic — WASHING THE DISHES IS SEXY, LOOKING GOOD IS SEXY — although those aren’t really sex-specific, and, well, what can I say, I’m sorry. I just thought of this and maybe it made you smile. Maybe you have your own ridiculous ideas for …IS SEXY bumper stickers. If you do, please send them my way. And that’s how I’m starting this month’s post. I promise to ramble further at the end of this message with some more serious thoughts (or funnier,…

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Scott Joplin Memorial Bench Bookmark

June 8, 2018

Almost two weeks ago I subbed in on plectrum banjo with a world-class 13-piece Ragtime ensemble called the River Rasin Ragtime Revue. It was an honor and a privilege to play some pure, beautiful, exquisite and simply fun Ragtime music with this group.  Probably the least important, but also the only material thing I took away from the experience was a bookmark commemorating the dedication of the Scott Joplin Memorial Bench in St. Michael’s Cemetery, East Elmhurst, NY. This bench is significant because Scott Joplin, who most of you have heard of as the King of Ragtime, was buried in an unmarked grave and no monument was erected in his honor until now. That would be like if Elvis had been buried in an unmarked grave and no one did anything about it until fifty years from now.   In some ways that’s what I’m all about. Drawing attention to the treasures of our cultural past, buried just below the surface without any markers to draw attention. On the other hand, the steamroller of culture is always moving forward and…

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Digital Foci – NEW ALBUM – Tour Highlights + Upcoming Dates + MORE

May 3, 2018

I am so excited to share with you this album of material I made almost ten years ago. it’s taken me this long to work up the courage to release it as it’s so different from anything I’ve released in the past. It could be the start of a new branch on the tree of my public musical life, or it could be a one-time folly. Time will tell. In any case, I hope you enjoy it: HERE IT IS — The whole album is a FREE DOWNLOAD so please download for better playback quality, and share with anyone you know who may be interested.   This album even has a MUSIC VIDEO for one of the songs! Made by Rennie Elliot. Also, the album artwork is by Andrew McLeod, concept by Rennie Elliot and yours truly. Mastering by Mythology Mastering. OK. That’s out there. I’m really nervous and excited to just get it out. Now let’s proceed with regular email stuff. In this email you well get my – Upcoming Dates – Brief Tour Highlights from the Two Tours I…

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Why Can’t I Repeat Myself?

March 31, 2018

I don’t know about you but it’s mud season in Detroit. Yes, it’s that time of year when you discover the holes in your shoes because your socks are wet, and every step you take seems to go “Squish, squish, squish.”   It’s also the start of chirpy birdie season — I can hear a very persistent cardinal right outside my window as I type this… I’m going to jump right in to the tour dates here. Scroll down a bit for some introspective rambling. Here are the dates! Tonight, in Ann Arbor, I play solo at a house concert with friends of incredible ingenuity and talent, including my friend Andy Eggleston’s project where she literally makes audible music with her mind (using a homemade brain-to-synthesizer control device.) Contact Greta Van Doren on Facebook for details. And then I’m on tour with Escaping Pavement: Apr 4 – Red Sky Stage LLC, Petoskey, MI  Apr 5 – Blackrocks Brewery, Marquette, MI Apr 6 – The Orpheum Theater, Hancock, MI Apr 7 – Musicians Corner House Concerts, Woodbury, MN Apr 8 – Leo & Leona’s, Bangor, WI…

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To The Future!

March 16, 2018

Hi Everybody, Spring is coming, or so I heard. We changed our clocks, so at least there’s that. When the robots replace us will they still use daylight savings time? I’m probably most excited about having mastered Fred Van Eps’s 1952 classic banjo adaption of James Scott’s piano rag, Ragtime Oriole. Somebody told me it’s probably the first instance of a ragtime piano piece imitating a bird call. You can see me playing its various parts on my Instagram feed and decide for yourself. I survived another little tour with Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings, and it was, by most accounts, glorious. In fact, glorious would be an understatement but I will leave it there. If you were there then you know, and if you weren’t then you will just have to wonder and wait. We have more shows coming up in June, to be announced soon. Now, on Saturday (tomorrow) I am traveling to Columbus for a weekend of tunes with friends. This Saturday, March 17, Lindsay and I play at Rambling House in Columbus with special…

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Rick James Dance Party

January 15, 2018

Wintry Greetings and a Ho Ho Ho! It’s that time of year when the thing to do is either hibernate or head south. I’m doing a bit of both, been enjoying some time at home in Detroit to read and practice, and today I’m driving to New Orleans for a few weeks’ spiritual pilgrimage. I finally got the ole hi-fi up and running so I can play these vinyl LPs I’ve been accumulating, and man! I had no idea how much I was going to love Rick James! He’s like the missing link between P-Funk and Prince. So much fun to dance to and get the heart rate and body temperature up when you keep the thermostat at 60… New-ish Release In case you missed it, my album “You Bring Out The Hamster In Me“, recorded last summer with Joe Troop, is now available from CDBaby as a digital download! You can also stream the album for free as much as you like. Give it a listen and smile, knowing how much fun we’re having when we play together. And…

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I Was Attacked by a Giant Dancing Salami

November 11, 2017

Hello Everybody, I’ve been having so much fun these past few months since I’ve last written and I’m thinking, what’s the point of telling everyone about all the fun I had? I’m just going to keep on having fun and so will you. Or maybe you will spend some time this winter all alone, studying and practicing, listening, reading, transcribing, trying to improve your musicianship, your mind and your technique, and learning new material to share with the world the next time you go out on the road to have lots of fun. That’s my plan, anyway. Enough fun for a while, I’m excited to get to work. That said, I still have some fun things coming up. So in this email I’ll tell you about upcoming events, highlights from recent times, and I haven’t been reading at all so I don’t have any book reports but I have been able to listen to a lot of my friends’ new recordings in the van so I’ll give you a little report on some of those. Upcoming Stuff Not too much!…

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First Place, Second Place, Every Place

August 28, 2017

I got home to Detroit from Tennessee late last night and now I’m eating teriyaki turkey jerky (it’s just fun to say that) and listening to the rain outside. “Haaarveeeeeey!!” is what I’m thinking, although that storm is very far away. I have about a day and a half left to get things in order and collect my thoughts before I’m out on the road again. Ben Belcher is coming up on Wednesday and we’ll have a day or so to catch up, rehearse and learn new material and then we’re off! In this email I will share some – recent highlights – upcoming shows – book club notes and that’s all I have in mind. Feel free to write me back any time, I love to hear from you! Upcoming Shows We start with some Lewis/Belcher Corn Potato Duo shows, featuring classic banjo duets and other fun things we only do as a duo… – This Friday at the G.A.R. Hall in Peninsula, OH, with Jen Maurer and Anthony Papaleo opening. (They are GR8) – Saturday at 20 Front…

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