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The Lewis Family

With a distinctive sound marked by the blazing (and often hilariously comic) banjo theatrics of Little Roy Lewis, a big bass drum, and robust harmonies from a contingent of identically dressed Lewis daughters, the Lewis Family has remained an institution of Georgia music and of the bluegrass festival scene for several decades. The "First Family of Bluegrass Gospel" got its start, in a way, when Roy Lewis, Sr., known as "Pop," used a ladder to spirit 15-year-old Pauline Holloway ("Mom" Lewis, who died in 2002) away from her house and to an elopement in McCormick, SC, in 1925. In the late '40s they joined with four of their eight children to form a family singing group, taking the name the Lewis Family for a gospel performance at a Woodmen of the World meeting in 1951. That year they made their first recordings on the small Sullivan label, and by 1957 they were recording for Starday. The family was influenced by the gospel quartet harmonies of the Chuckwagon Gang and by the big-beat gospel of Martha Carson, but their sound and shows were distinctive from the start. In 1954 the Lewis Family began appearing on a weekly television show in Augusta, GA, near their hometown of Lincolnton; it ran until 1992. The family's live performances likewise had a durable consistency; through about 60 album releases on Starday, Canaan, Riverson, and Daywind, their sound remained largely unchanged. They began touring full time in the early '60s.

By the end of the 20th century the Lewis Family played roughly 200 shows a year, appearing at annual Southern gospel events such as the Albert E. Brumley Memorial Singing in Springdale, AR, as well as at bluegrass festivals far and wide. Their shows, marked by cornball humor and stage razzle-dazzle along with a gospel message, offer a unique window on the musical past in their traveling family-group setup. Although the group operates in a sphere separate from the bluegrass mainstream, Little Roy Lewis is recognized as one of the top masters of the five-string banjo in bluegrass. For sheer speed on the fretboard he is unmatched. Daughters Miggie, Polly, and Janis Lewis joined the group gradually in the 1960s and 1970s as several brothers dropped out to pursue business careers, and their harmony singing anchors many of the family's songs; a third generation of Lewis musicians has taken the stage increasingly often in recent years. Many Lewis Family members are talented multi-instrumentalists, and the group plays several upbeat numbers, including "The Good Time Get Together," that are structured so as to allow multiple virtuoso solos on various instruments, sometimes including such novelties as an autoharp. Their repertoire, particularly heavy on the works of bluegrass songwriter Randall Hylton, also contains numerous traditional pieces and unique songs from a network of local Georgia musicians little heard elsewhere. The Lewis Family hosts an annual festival of its own, the Lewis Family Homecoming & Bluegrass Festival, in Lincolnton. They were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1992 and have won several Dove awards. ~ James Manheim
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Handpicked

1. This Flight That Is Leaving Soon

2. Somewhere Somebody Is Praying For Me

3. A Rose Is A Bible

4. You Can't Stop Time

5. He Still Looks Over Me

6. Walkin' And Talkin'

7. Angels Gathering Flowers

8. There's Never An Ungarded Moment

9. I Believe In The Lord

10. When Our Lord Shall Come Again

11. Above And Beyond

12. If We Ever Needed The Lord Before - We Sho Do Need Him Now

13. One Rose

x

Track List: One Rose

1. One Rose

2. Stepping Stones

3. I Believe In The Lord

4. Get On Board This Old Train

5. When We Talk To The Father

6. Alright, Alright, Alright

7. When I Got Down On My Knees

8. The Lord Is A Busy Man

9. Silver Lining

10. If Jesus Comes Back On A Sunday

x

Track List: The Lewis Bunch

1. This Flight That Is Leaving Soon

2. He Still Looks Over Me

3. City On A Hill

4. God's Gonna Getcha For That

5. That Heavenly Home

6. I Want To Go To That Glory Land

7. I Lift Up The Name Of Jesus

8. Who Will Sing For Me

9. The Hand Of Death Can't Hold Me

10. Heaven Will Surely Be Worth At All

x

Track List: Time

1. Follow The Light

2. More Than Enough

3. You Can't Stop Time

4. When Our Lord Shall Come Again

5. All My Blessings

6. Dig A Little Deeper In The Well

7. He Carried The Cross For Me

8. He Built A Bridge

9. I Dreamed I Searched Heaven For You

10. Oh, My Lord, What A Time

x

Track List: Bluegrass Country Club

1. Running In The Yard

2. A Rose In A Bible

3. Hallelujah Homecoming Day

4. I Wouldn't Miss It For The World

5. I Stand Alone At God's Door

6. I've Found A Hiding Place

7. I'd Still Have Nothing

8. If We Ever Needed The Lord Before (We Sho Do Need Him Now)

9. Family Affair

10. The Gloryland Way

x

Track List: 7 Hits

1. So Fine

2. Traveling Shoes

3. When I Got Down On My Knees

4. I Lift Up The Name Of Jesus

5. Walking And Talking

6. One Rose

7. So Many Years, So Many Blessings

Comments

Report as inappropriate
What a great gospel family
Report as inappropriate
I saw them in concert back around 1970. They are legend. Please include more of their songs!
Report as inappropriate
Please add more music from the Lewis Family on Pandora. They are great!
Report as inappropriate
Please add the Lewis Family to my playlist. They have a LOT of albums, and their talent is unsurpassed in gospel bluegrass.
Report as inappropriate
shelomah
Plese put more of the Lewis family on. Little Roy is a truely great musician and entertainer. Those of us who've seen him in concert will never forget it! He is an amazing talent on banjo, guitar, autoharp, well pretty much anything.
Report as inappropriate
The Lewis Family have been entertaining over 50 years. They have super talent in Southern Bluegrass Gospel. They have recorded on Word, Starday, Thoroghbred, Hollywood, etc. Efforts should be made to add their vast recordings to the Pandora collection.
Report as inappropriate
jeffro71
The Lewis Family ROCKS!!!!!
Report as inappropriate
I wish they had more music for this artist...I mean these guys were huge back in the day...not even my day....way back!

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