Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bluegrass star Lewis shelves plans to slow down


Having turned 60 last year, singer/fiddler Laurie Lewis said she decided to cut back on her performance schedule a bit.

So how's that going?

"It hasn't been working!" she said with a laugh during a telephone chat last week. "I've been really playing a lot. A few years ago, in fact, I parted ways with my booking agent. And I thought, well, I'll get another booking agent. I didn't get around to it because I was so busy with bookings! I've just been taking care of everything myself. We've been working at it as a little business."

So the time-off plan isn't going as planned, but Lewis said she has no complaints.

"I feel very very lucky. Not everybody's in this boat."

Having carved out a comfortable niche for herself in traditional music, crossing from Appalachian to bluegrass to folk, Lewis said she still enjoys the traveling that goes with a successful music career.

"I'm a tourist at heart ---- I love to go to new places, and see differences in people. I just love everything that's different, and that's probably because I have such a solid home base in Berkeley."

In addition to keeping up with a busy touring schedule, Lewis has a new CD out, "Blossoms," on her own Spruce & Maple label.

"I have too many songs ---- what are you going to do with them? If you don't get them out and put them somewhere, there's a whole backlog that just builds up ---- at least inside me. If I don't finish everything on my plate, I don't get another helping."

And finishing what was on her plate remains important for her sanity.

"I write snippets, and then I don't finish the songs. That's one of the reasons I'm really glad to have 'Blossoms' out in the world. Now I feel like my head is more clear and I can finish these other songs."

In addition to cherishing her time off more, her middle years have also brought Lewis another challenge: Her voice is beginning to lose some of its range. More.

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