Tulip Time

May 12, 2019

Or, as they say, “April showers bring May showers…” I spent a few days last week in Holland, Michigan, taking in the cultural traditions of this Dutch-American town I’d never visited before and busking in the sunshine during the annual Tulip Time festival with my powerhouse pal Grace Van’t Hof (banjo/uke/vocals with Sinner Friends + art/design). It’s a beautiful thing to see people celebrating a shared sense of connection and identity in any kind of positive way, and this was a fine example of that. I saw a champion Town Crier, “Dutch” dancing (which may have been invented in the New World but that’s ok), lots of people in Dutch costume and I tasted some Dutch delicacies (Banket for the win). My question is, how do we take that feeling of togetherness and bring it into a city of many different cultures and traditions coexisting side by side? Read on… Happy Springtime Everybody! In this email I will share some recent links to interviews I’ve done, catch you up on what I’ve been doing the last couple months, tell you…

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Frost On My Moustache

February 25, 2019

I made it back from the frozen North and I have stories to tell! I also have upcoming gigs and other fun items to share with you. In this email you will find — Tour Highlights — Upcoming Gigs — Picky Fingers Podcast Feature Teaser — CBC Radio Interview — Book Report — New Videos TOUR HIGHLIGHTS So I went ahead and posted my tour journal from the Yukon trip on my website as a separate post. You can read all about it and see some photos here. I can’t remember anything that happened before the tour, it was such an amazing trip. The last time I went to the trouble of posting a tour journal was five years ago when I went to India with the earliest lineup of Corn Potato String Band. That tour journal can be found here, in case you missed it. UPCOMING GIGS I’ve been doing so many various things lately but I am focusing more on solo work these days, so I have a few solo shows coming up, some shows and recording sessions…

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Yukon Tour Journal, February 2019, or, How Many Banjos Can You Fly to the Yukon?

February 25, 2019

The short answer is three, plus a fiddle and a pile of CDs, a few instrument stands, change of clothes, toothbrush, etc. But let’s go back to what this was all about and how it came to be: Some time last fall I got a phone call from Tim Osmond, director of Home Routes, the Canadian nonprofit organization that sends musicians into rural communities all over Canada throughout the winter time to provide live music in the form of house concerts in places where live music wouldn’t otherwise be commonly found. The energy and commitment of the hundreds of volunteers who make this all work is so inspiring. (Ben and I did our first Home Routes tour in Manitoba two years ago and got to know Tim when we played at his house in Winnipeg at the end of the tour.) Our conversation went something like this: Tim: Hey Aaron, are you and Ben free in February? AJL: Let me check… (inspects watchless wrist) Yeah, I think so. What’s up? Tim: Do you guys want to do a Home Routes…

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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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