Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands - 'The Hazel and Alice Sessions' (album stream) (premiere)

by Sarah Zupko

20 January 2016

Bluegrass fiddler extraordinaire Laurie Lewis returns with a new album tribute to two seminal female figures in bluegrass, Alice Gerrard and Hazel Dickens.
 

Bluegrass fiddler and roots music extraordinaire Laurie Lewis returns with a new album tribute to two seminal female figures in bluegrass, Alice Gerrard and Hazel Dickens. Both of these artists were huge influences on Lewis’ artistic development as she “had heard ballsy women singers on the local bluegrass scene, but I hadn’t heard other
women doing that on recordings.”

Lewis also brought along a few notable friends to complete this amazing tribute to Gerrard and Dickens, including the stellar new talent Aoife O’Donovan and Linda Ronstadt.
  
Lewis tells PopMatters that “since I first started listening to Hazel and Alice, in the mid-1970s, their infectious tunes have been bouncing around inside my brain. They were great writers, who wrote not only the standard lovelorn variety of heart song but also took on female-specific points of view and social justice issues, all with deep roots in traditional music. And they chose such wonderful material from outside sources, like Bill Monroe and the Carter Family. I think it was Tom Rozum’s suggestion that we record a tribute to Hazel and Alice, and the idea just seemed completely natural and obvious from the moment it popped out of his mouth. We all (the Right Hands and I) embraced it immediately, and went to work listening and picking a combination of our favorite songs and under-covered gems from their repertoire. Then came the fun part: sitting down and actually having our way with the material. The project has been a pleasure from beginning to end. I can’t imagine why nobody has done this before!”

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