We’ve taken several occasions to note how many of our favorite performers in bluegrass music also work in careers outside of music, playing at shows and festivals on the weekends. Generally they do so based on their passion for the music rather than an expectation of reaching fame and fortune. You might not ever know that the guy changing your tire in Georgia is the region’s top banjo picker, or that the guy teaching your children in eastern Kentucky is a fabulous bluegrass singer. Such things just don’t come up in casual conversation, but those situations occur quite regularly in bluegrass country.
Many others who dedicate themselves to bluegrass work “day jobs” close to the music, perhaps teaching private lessons at a music school or guitar shop, or using today’s digital communication tools to teach online. Others still work in associated jobs quite near to the music. Jonathan Dillon, mandolinist for Junior Sisk, is also an in-demand bus driver who chauffeurs other artists around the country when the band is off. And for years before he was working full time for Ricky Skaggs, Jim Mills worked during the week for Sugar Hill Records.
We see the same thing are at Bluegrass Today. Our CEO, Terry Herd, is also an accomplished blugrass songwriter and broadcaster, and Ashley Lewis, our Sales Manager, is an artist, singer, and songwriter. In fact, we became familiar with Ashley through her music, and only later asked her to join the team.
Several of our correspondents also play in regional groups, and I mostly just write the stories. Oh well…
Lewis has a new single out today which we are proud to highlight, her version of the Fleetwood Mac mega-hit Rhiannon, written and originally sung by Steve Nicks when it was released in 1975. Ashley’s take is a stripped down acoustic arrangement, featuring only her mandolin and voice, recorded alongside the banks of the Piney River in Tenessee during quarantine. If you listen closely, you can hear rushing water and crickets!
Here is the music video she created to accompany the single.
Rhiannon by Ashley Lewis is available now for download purchase directly from the artist online.