In early 2010, after the world-famous Lewis Family had disbanded in 2009, Lewis Phillips started out by performing in another new band named The Lewis Tradition in Lincolnton, Georgia.
The band’s line-up included his beloved mother Janis Lewis Phillips, his highly-talented cousin Travis Lewis (the son of Wallace Lewis who had already passed away), and the oldest son of Travis, Jameson Lewis.
Lewis Phillis is the son of Earl and Janis Phillips. Janis was one of the members of the bluegrass gospel group The Lewis Family, also known as Georgia’s First Family of Bluegrass Gospel.
In 1972, at the age of just two, Lewis began to tour together with the Lewis Family band, and at just age six, he was already played banjo on a CBS-TV special with Carol Burnett. In 2001, Lewis released his first solo album titled Empty Fields.
The Lewis Tradition members include, as said before, Lewis Phillips, banjo, guitar, and vocals, Janis Lewis Phillips, vocals (Mom and Pop Lewis youngest daughter), her son Lewis Phillips, Travis Lewis, bass and vocals (son of Wallace Lewis), and Jameson Lewis, piano and vocals, Travis’ oldest son.
Janis had been a member of the legendary Lewis Family from the band’s earliest days and Travis had joined the group in 1974. See also this article about the three main traditions of Gospel Music.
Lewis Phillips started to join the group in 1977, though he performed only on some special occasions. Earl Phillips, Lewis’ father, and Janis’ husband, always played an important role in the Lewis Family. Just listen to how Lewis Phillips sings “Mary Dear”:
Earl is a retired financial executive and he managed much of the group’s business and finances, a position he filled for The Lewis Family from 1967 on.
Lewis never fails to entertain his audiences delightfully, not only with his songs but also with his subtle humor. As former members of the Lewis Family, the members of The Lewis Tradition have won many awards and prestigious honors including the Grand Ole’ Gospel Reunion Living Legend Award, induction to Georgia’s Music Hall of Fame, the IBMA Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, both located in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Lewis Tradition is still proudly carrying on the beautiful and impressive tradition of The Lewis Family, Georgia’s and America’s “First Family of Bluegrass Gospel Music.”
The Lewis Tradition, founded after the retirement of the legendary bluegrass gospel group The Lewis Family, released their debut album (Precious Memories) in November 2010.
This album was published by Daywind and contains great songs that uninhibitedly have a gospel music approach that many Bluegrass Gospel Music lovers will appreciate. This is Gospel the way it used to be back in the day, except that it’s more clear and better than in the old days. As they say: “They done pretty good!”