Happy birthday little Roy Lewis!


Joe Ross, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and journalist living in Roseburg, Oregon, sends…

“…our heartfelt congratulations on turning 80, as well as a highly successful half-century music career that has produced over a hundred albums of bluegrass gospel music on a variety of labels. It is also 20 years since the Lewis family received the IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2002.

My best wishes to you for continued success with the Little Roy and Lizzie Long Show.

Fred Bartenstein has had a distinguished and multi-faceted career in bluegrass music that spans over 50 years…

“I think the first time I met Little Roy and the Lewis family was at Shindig in the Barn in Pennsylvania in the late 1960s. After that I worked with them countless times in festivals produced by Carlton Haney, Jim Clark, Mac Wiseman and Bill Monroe. Roy was invariably kind, serious and knowledgeable. I remember his incredible skills as a bus driver, guiding the large Lewis family vehicle in and out of the fields He’s always been one of my favorite banjo players: his clean, aggressive attack shines through and marked the Lewis family as an unmistakably bluegrass act.

I’ll leave it to others to recall Little Roy’s remarkable on-stage jinx, in my day usually co-engineered with Sonny Osborne.

Roy, many happy returns on the remarkable occasion of your eightieth birthday!

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage with former festival promoter and friend Norman and Judy Adams….

Gary Henderson remembers when he was an MC, around 1972 or 1973, at the Indian Springs Bluegrass Festival, started by Pete Kuykendall and the staff of Bluegrass Unlimited review….

“The Lewis family were often reserved and Little Roy was happy to pick on me and Sonny Osborne on stage. Sonny and I were in good spirits and agreed to the gag, still receiving lots of laughs from the audience. Roy and I were good friends, and the Lewis family was so supportive of the magazine’s efforts to sustain and preserve our bluegrass music.

This Round Mound of Sound wishes Little Roy Lewis a very happy and fun 80th birthday! 80 years young, with more jokes and pranks to come – Watch out! »

Claire Lynch has been involved in bluegrass music since the so-called revival of the 1970s, enjoying many years leading the Front Porch String Band and, since 2005, her own Claire Lynch Band…

“It was the 1990s. The Front Porch String Band and I were starting to make enough of a mark in the bluegrass world that we got invited to tri-state festivals from our home base in Alabama. We had played in festivals in Georgia and Florida with the Lewis family and we always loved seeing them play, but I didn’t know they knew who we were.

It was during a small festival in Virginia that we again met Little Roy Lewis. I had seen how he clowned around with the Osborne Brothers when they were on stage. But I didn’t know he would sabotage our show! It was over halfway through the set, and I was singing Mr. Bo Jangles when he took the stage with a broom and started sweeping in 3/4 time. Once in a while, when he got behind me, he would lift the broom off the ground and hit my behind with it. You can imagine my embarrassment! But everyone thought it was hilarious, including my band members. I will never forget that as long as I live!

After the set, he complimented our band and said something like, ‘You’re all a good band but you need to play HARDER!’ Of course, he pronounced it ‘LAO-DUH!’ with his inimitable South Georgia accent. From there, ‘Play harder!’ was a running joke within the band. God loves him! No matter where Little Roy has been… he has brought us all to a bright and happy place.

Wishing you the sweetest birthday yet, Little Roy! Hang on, baby!

Little Roy Lewis was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame (1992), SPGBMA Hall of Greats (1994), IBMA Hall of Fame (2006), and Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2013).

A discography

Little Roy Lewis

  • Banjo Gospel (Canaan CAS-9722LP, released January 1973)
  • Little Roy Lewis – Artist (Canaan CAS-9811, 1977)
  • great picking (Canaan CAS-9870, 1981)
  • Dixie’s Heart (Canaan CAS-9911, 1984)
  • The best of little Roy Lewis (Canaan SPCN 7-01-993313-9 [CAS-9933]1985)

Little Roy Lewis, Earl Scruggs and Lizzy Long

  • Lifespans (Mountain Home MH 1118-2, May 1, 2007)

Lizzy Long and Little Roy Lewis / Little Roy and Lizzy Show

  • Picking from the porch (Crossroads Music VR 39733, May 20, 2008)
  • Break like the dawn (Crossroads Music 1326, May 20, 2009)
  • Straight from the heart of Dixie (Crossroads Music VR 10422, April 20, 2010)
  • Tradition with a twist (Vine, July 2, 2011)
  • morning lord (Pisgah Ridge PR 14052, August 7, 2012)
  • Pop! go the banjo (Vine TMS 7368, June 4, 2013)
  • good times at home (StowTown STR 3166, April 29, 2016)
  • Go home (StowTown STR 3187, May 5, 2017)
  • American Classics (With the Autoharp) (StowTown, May 4, 2018)
  • ten (StowTown, May 31, 2019)

Lizzy Long

  • Blueberry pie (Vine Records VRO 12490, 2015)

These add to the vast catalog of the Lewis family.


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