Piles of News, Modern String Quartet, Wax Cylinder, Honky Tonkin and More
I now have two tours behind me with this new band, Nora Jane Struthers And The Party Line, and I’m going places I’ve never been and meeting lots of new people, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you are still with me, my old friends. You knew me when! And some of you are new to me and I’m new to you, and I hope that you will stay with me as well. It’s going to be an interesting ride, this life of mine. Like my friend Lonesome Liz is always telling me, I should write a book. Instead I’m writing monthly-ish newsletters with stories about my life, what I’ve been doing, what I have coming up, what I care about, etc. So before I get into this month’s edition I just want to say THANK YOU for joining me. Where this funny path will lead, no one knows.
In this month’s newsletter I might say some things about the tour I just finished in Texas, something about my upcoming tour (which I’m already on now), some new releases, a nice article in No Depression that mentions me, ah well the news has been piling up this month! So, here we go:
OK, what’s first? Real quick, here’s the link to a nice article by Devon Leger in No Depression that mentions me as well as my new band. I met Devon at Folk Alliance in Toronto about a month ago and apparently I was one of the few artists (out of hundreds there) he chose to write about.
Here’s another link for you. This one is of a composition by my friend Michael Tuttle, in Berlin. Last year I recorded a string quartet that he wrote and it is now up on his website. You can hear it here. It’s a little different from what you might be used to but it will certainly open up your ears a bit. See if you can listen to the whole thing! It’s about half an hour long in total.
Another record release link — Galax, NYC by Square Peg Rounders (Sam Guthridge on banjo, Erica Weiss on guitar and yours truly on fiddle) is now up on bandcamp, where you can hear the whole dang thing for free as many times as you want, and if you want to download it you can pay what you want. How many other professions give their products/services away for free and then say to the customer, ‘Hey, if you like this you can pay whatever you want for it, or pay nothing’?? Funny thing, being a professional musician… Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy it! AndSHARE.
Do I have more links? Yes, at least one more. You Shouldn’t Know From It, the klezmer band I helped get started in Berlin, now has a website up and running at with some nice videos and songs up there. I just wanted to share that because, well, that’s me playing those songs and I’m in those videos, but also because I just love those guys. I really enjoyed being a part of that project and I hope I get to play with them again some day.
OK, one more big link. This is for my new band’s official music video for Carnival, the title track off the new album which will be officially released on April 16. Check out the video here
Now for a brief review of my last tour, three weeks in Texas. First of all, the weather was great! And all the people I met were super nice. I’ll never get over it and I’ll never take it for granted, the kindness of complete strangers when I’m on the road. People taking us into their homes and feeding us. Maybe that’s the power of music to bring people together, maybe it’s just people being really nice. I don’t know, but I want everyone to know that there are a lot of really good people out there. We played at SXSW, which was not as overwhelming as I was led to believe but yes, sure, it’s a big mess with thousands of artists, kinda fun. We got to hang out with Baskery a bit, this wonderful sister-trio from Sweden. Check them out! I also got to two-step with my friends Loves It, at the White Horse, and check them out, too, they’re one of my favorites. (They let me listen to the rough mixes from their studio session that day and they sound SO GOOD.) Another night we went dancing at the Broken Spoke and saw Mike And The Moon Pies, and they were superb. Also got to hang with my friends Whiskey Shivers, a really fun Austin band that had me sit in with them on some of the fastest playing I’ve ever done on stage… Check them out, too!
Comparing Austin and Nashville (and keep in mind I’ve spent precious little time in either one of these places) I have to hand it to Austin. They’ve got way better food in general and the honky tonk dancing culture in Austin is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it! In Nashville if you go to Robert’s (which I highly recommend because the music there is the best and it’s my favorite honky tonk in Nashville) and a couple or a few couples start dancing, it’s an anomaly. The band will say, ‘Give it up for the dancers!’ like it’s something unusual that should be applauded. In Austin, everyone is dancing, from the first song of the night until the band stops playing. And it’s not particular to any age or type of person. It’s pretty easy to do, and fun. I can do the basic steps but not much more than that, but it’s not necessary to be a fancy dancer in order to go out there and do it. So, if you’re debating whether to visit Austin or Nashville, I’d say you should do both because they’re pretty different. But if you want a really great dancing experience in some traditional honky tonks and you like lots of good food choices, Austin’s the place. Nashville has a lot of other good things going on, too, and like I said I’ve spent very little time in these places. Just giving you my thoughts.
That may be enough for this month. Let’s get in there with the TOUR DATES!
I’m just giving you a link to my calendar because the information has been changing a bit lately, so please take a look. Here’s a list of places I will be this month:
10 – Ashland Coffee & Tea (near Richmond, VA)
11 – Tom Tom Founders Festival at The Haven in Charlottesville, VA
12 – Pocahontas County Opera House in Marlinton, WV
13 – Windsor Castle Park, Smithfield, VA
17 – IMT, Takoma Park, MD
18 – World Cafe Live at The Queen, Wilmington, DE
19 – Rockwood Music Hall, NYC
20 – Northwest Park Concert Series, Windsor, CT
21 – Club Passim, Cambridge, MA
22 – The Haven (with Ben Belcher!!), Jamaica Plain, MA
23 – Cantab Lounge – Boston, MA
24 – The Parlor Room at Signature Sounds – Northampton, MA
25 – B Side Ballroom and Supper Club – Oneonta, NY
26 – Sportsmen’s Tavern – Buffalo, NY
27 – Wellsville Creative Arts Center – Wellsville, NY
28 – Elk Creek Café + Aleworks, Millheim, PA
and there are more after that but I’ll let you know probably. And keep an eye on that calendar.
If anyone out there has any leads for gigs in Finland we Froggy Mountain Boys still have a lot of dates to fill this July when we go there for the Kaustinen Folk Music Festival and I would gratefully accept any suggestions or contacts you might have for us.
Last thing I want to mention before I sign off is that my friend Dennis Lichtman Western Swing band, The Brain Cloud, with which I often play whenever I can, is having their record release party this month, April 26 at the Jalopy Theater. I’m on the record! If you’re in or near NYC go and see these guys for my sake and yours. If not, I hope I can send you a download link in my next newsletter.
Enjoy all my funny links and write to me sometime — And remember, if you’re planning on coming to any of my shows just send me an email and I’ll see if I can get you on the guest list. How about that!
All The Best From Wherever I Am,
He’s Your Friend and Mine,
Aaron Jonah Lewis (or AJL for short)