The Lewis Family Biography

The Lewis Family is known to many of their fans as “The First Family of Bluegrass Gospel”. The group originated from Lincolnton, a modest Georgia community (some 1,500 residents) located in the northeastern portions of Georgia, close to the South Carolina state line.

Lincolnton is named after Benjamin Lincoln, a Revolutionary War general, and the Lewis Family infused their shows with typical country charm and a characteristic thick Southern accent.

Originally, the band included Roy “Pop” Lewis, the family patriarch, on bass, daughters “Miggie” Polly and Janis (vocalists) and sons Wallace (guitar), Talmadge (mandolin & fiddle), Roy M. “Little Roy” ( banjo).

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BlueGrass Gospel Music-How it all started

In the early 1600’s, Irish, Scottish, and English immigrants to the U.S. brought the music styles with them that form the roots of contemporary bluegrass music. The first immigrants later moved on to Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North & South Carolina, and Kentucky where they were writing songs about everyday living circumstances in the new country.

Most of the immigrants were living in remote locations, so these songs were mostly dealing with country life in the hills, and that’s why this sort of music was labeled ‘country music’ or ‘mountain music’. Technological developments like the invention of radio and the phonograph in the beginning of the 20th century made that this music could now be enjoyed all across America. […]

The Origin of The Gospel Music

The earliest immigrants in North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee were Scots-Irish-English settlers who ventured down the Appalachian Mountains. Around 1750 they found the Cumberland Gap to discover the fertile soil of Kentucky’s blue grass country.

These early pioneers were bringing a wealth of instrumental and vocal music traditions with them, and their Anglo-Celtic traditional ballads were comforting them along the way.

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Source: Mary DeMuth

The majority of their ballads were originally from the British Isles, and the settlers had preserved them carefully because they wanted to stick to their European ancestors’ cultural traditions.

They actually had preserved the old ballads so perfectly well that in the early 20th century, English folksong collectors visited western North Carolina to collect pure English ballads as they had been already forgotten in England.

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The First Family of Bluegrass Gospel

The Lewis Family is known for their distinctive sound emphasized by the often hilariously blazing banjo virtuoso Little Roy Lewis.
Another characteristic is the enormous bass drum, accompanied by the phenomenal vocal harmonies by the Lewis daughters who were always identically dressed.

For several decades, the Lewis Family dominated the Georgia bluegrass festival scene, and the band was nothing less than a Georgia musical institution.

It is for good reasons that their name of the “First Family of Bluegrass Gospel” got its way. Roy “Pop” Lewis actually was using a ladder in 1925 to help Pauline Holloway, “Mom” Lewis at age just 15 escape her family home to go to McCormick, South Carolina.

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Lewis Family Performance – Best Videos Selection

Best videos all the time:

When I have a hard day I listen to the Lewis family music. Recently it happened when my little ones start screaming and protesting.

After trying unsuccessfully for several minutes to calm her down I left, knowing she’d eventually fall asleep. I went back down to the kitchen, turned on The Lewis Family soundtrack and started to do the dishes.

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