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Jodee Lewis

As the music coming out of Nashville edges ever closer to the pop genre, it’s up to artists like Jodee Lewis to carry the torch of traditional country. With striking arrangements that are the perfect vessels for her songcraft, not to mention a voice that is full of rustic mystique, Lewis is a writer and storyteller with timeless appeal.

Though a Chicago native for nearly two decades now, she was raised in Osceola – a town of 800 people in the Missouri Ozarks. Her childhood home was down a secluded dirt track, set amongst 190 acres of woodland, where days were spent running through the trees, building forts and secret hideouts. Each Labor Day would see the arrival of Rodeo Daze - 3 nights of rodeos plus parades featuring marching bands and kids racing turtles for money. These memories bleed into her songwriting

Lewis grew up in a household where Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings and EmmyLou Harris were fixtures on the radio. Her granddad, himself a guitarist in a band, also played his part by introducing her to the artists that he loved, such as Earl Scruggs, Patsy Cline and Lefty Frizzell. These country, honky-tonk and Americana roots still shine through in her own music.

Recently, Lewis has dug ever deeper, incorporating influences like Ray Price and Merle Haggard into her sound. It’s all there on Buzzard’s Bluff, her second album, and the follow-up to her debut, Whiskey Halo. Despite being billed as a solo record there’s a true feeling of unity amongst her band, helped by the fact that they all met each other at church.

Named after a real bluff near where she grew up, Buzzard’s Bluff is a fitting landscape for Lewis’ songs of searching self-reflection. By looking back on a childhood where minding your own business was prized above all else she hopes to navigate the difficulties of being an adult, wife and parent. Returning to this place has also meant dealing with the tragic loss of her second child, Luke, which has had a very significant effect on her life and music.

On the album’s title track Lewis sings “there ain’t nobody gonna run in here and save me.” But through the loyalty of her family and the strength of God’s grace she has not only found salvation, but has created her most personal statement yet.

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"She populates her songs with characters that duck responsibility, drink too much, and are nearly always left high and dry. But they have a rueful humor as well." [3/6/15]

WORLD Magazine Online

 "It's always refreshing to come across an artist whose music doesn't fall prey to the makings of that big money machine in the sky."

"Quite an entrance, like the Velvet Underground, which is all the more surprising when you hear what follows." [1/11/2018]

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Lund Hall, Dominican University Chicago, IL

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