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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New Release – LIVE, Mostly

July 19, 2017

Hello hello hello! Here’s the big news — My live album with Ben Belcher is now officially released and available from CDBaby as well as all other digital media outlets (iTunes, Spotify, etc.). And here’s the back story: In 2012 we joined Thomas Dolby for a month-long North American tour. Ben and I played an opening set each night and I joined Thomas Dolby’s band for a few songs. Sean Haney, the sound engineer, recorded some of the shows and was gracious enough to let me release them. In preparation for our Home Routes tour last April Ben and I finally got around to listening through the old recordings, picking out the best ones, and adding a few home recordings we made at Ben’s house in Alabama of some classic banjo duets. Speaking of Ben, here is a link to the GoFundMe campaign that is raising funds to support him and his wife as they are going through some serious medical issues with their son. Also, Crazy Cats is now available as a FREE DOWNLOAD. I’m hitting the road again…

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“Good Job Everybody” + I Heart Canada

April 28, 2017

I took the plastic off the windows and opened up the house today. It’s not especially warm but it’s sunny and a fresh breeze is blowing through. It’s almost time for ice cream!   I’ve been home for almost two weeks and the time is flying by. I’m so grateful to have a lot going on. Between gigs and rehearsals with an array of local musicians (check out Escaping Pavement, whose new single I played on, Nick Adams & The Aral Sea Divers, The Flutter & Wow, David Simon), getting the new Corn Potato record into production as well as a couple more albums that will be released soon, getting ready for the American Banjo Fraternity rally in a couple weeks, and plenty of other more mundane tasks, I’m happy to say that I am staying well busy. Howdy Friends, In this email I will to tell you about  – New releases — You’re the first to hear about these new albums!  – Upcoming tour dates  – Highlights from the Home Routes tour  – Some books and records I’m currently enjoying  – One new video we made NEW RELEASES The…

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Babies, Banjos, and Britney

February 20, 2017

I just spent 48 hours in a room at the Ramada Inn in Birmingham, Alabama with Corn Potato Ben, his wife, and their three-month-old boy, and boy, did I learn a lot. I learned even more than I already knew about How To Calm A Crying Baby With Norwegian Black Metal (in our particular case, mostly Mayhem and some Slayer). I learned, from the hotel TV, all about Britney Spears’ story, her struggles and achievements. I also learned that I have more sympathy and respect for her than I could have imagined. I guess that Lifetime dramatization of her life followed by real-life documentary about the making of her new show in Vegas had its intended effect. And of course I learned the unspeakable joy that comes from playing twin banjos as the baby drifts off to sleep and stays asleep for hours… Now I’m back in Opelika, Alabama, where Ben lives. Why did we spend 48 hours in Birmingham? The honest answer is that Ben’s wife, Annie Campbell, is a ceramic sculpture artist and professor at Auburn University, and…

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A Light Dusting

December 9, 2016

Hello Everybody! We have a light dusting of snow here in Detroit, ‘seasonal music’ is playing everywhere, and a certain feeling is in the air. This will be a short email as I don’t have a lot to announce, nor do I have a lot on my mind… Here’s what I have coming up: – Sunday, Dec. 18, at Tom’s Tavern with Corn Potato Duo (me and Lindsay).– Saturday, Dec. 31, at First Night Raleigh in Raleigh, NC – Jan. 5, 7, and 8, in NYC with Wild Hog, shows at Jalopy on the 5th, 68 Jay St. Bar the 7th, and Superfine brunch on the 8th. – Saturday, Jan. 28, Ann Arbor Folk Festival with Corn Potato String Band – Get your tickets HERE – Lineup includes Kiefer Sutherland, Indigo Girls, us, and much much more – Sunday, Jan. 29, Detroit Square Dance Society potluck and dance at the Gaelic League, with special guest caller Sean Fen and guest fiddler Henry Barnes, all the way from Columbus, Ohio. Whoopee! So you may be wondering what I’m doing if I’m not touring or playing lots of shows at home, or even teaching hardly at all, for that matter.…

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