What I have appreciated about Little Roy Lewis over the years is not only his wacky sense of humor, but also his enthusiasm about playing the five-string banjo. He has been in the music business a long time, yet along with music partner Lizzy Long, whom Lewis foster-parented when she was a teenager, he’s proving that he is far from hanging up his axe, as there is plenty of starch left in his musical corset.
On Pop! Goes The Banjo, Lewis plays a set of instrumentals that showcases his abilities on the banjo, as well as highlighting a few musicians who have influenced him over the years. He’s backed up by a fine set of artists including Long on fiddle and lead and slide guitar, Buddy Spicher on fiddle, Clay Hess on guitar, Irl Hees on bass, and Nathan Stewart on mandolin.
What’s impressive is that there are eight Lewis originals on here, beginning with the title cut. Another one is “Going To See Earl,” which Lewis wrote about his lifelong hero and friend Earl Scruggs who (as Lewis says in the liner notes) “taught me a few little tricks on the D-chord position.” “Choppin’ Wood” is about his love for splitting firewood, and “Ding Bat & Doo Da” is a tune named after two characters that Lewis often tells a story about onstage. Lewis also pays tribute to others such as Don Reno, gospel piano players he has loved over the years, and more. On the cut “Cain Lightning Blues,” Lewis sets the banjo down and picks some guitar in honor of his blues hero, a man and friend named Cain Lightning. (www.littleroyandlizzy.com.)DH