Linda Gail Lewis -A Natural Talent Comes to the Region From A Talented Family By: Ed Conway
Written by Staff on July 30, 2021
Coming up on August 14th, Linda Gail Lewis will be stopping by to the Hangar on the Hudson in Troy, NY as part of her northeast tour, backed by The Lustre Kings. If you aren’t familiar with Linda, she is the sister of Jerry Lee Lewis. While her brother is considered to be rock n roll royalty, Linda, is a darned good piano player in her own right. With her ever present smile, and boogie woogie style piano, she commands the stage and let’s everyone else in on her party. I’ve had the pleasure to see her a couple of times, once, warming up for her brother, and another time, backed by Los Straitjackets, and was blown away both times to see how much talent runs in that family.
While many in NY’s Capital District may view The Lustre Kings as a local band, Mark Gamsjager and company are highly respected throughout the world. They have played many of the major music festivals and have toured extensively, throughout the US and Europe.
They have backed such acts as Marti Brom and the Queen of Rockabilly herself, Wanda Jackson.
For those that don’t know, Jerry Lee suffered a stroke back in February 2019. Therefore, my first question, when Linda and I sat down and had a chat over Facebook, of course had to do with her brother, despite the fact that it was an interview regarding her upcoming tour and visit, so please forgive me.
RRX: First is more of a personal question, how’s your brother doing?
LGL: He’s doing really well and almost completely recovered from the major hemorrhagic stroke he had.
RRX: Great to hear!! So, was piano your first instrument and do you play any others
LGL: I have always played chords to accompany myself on piano. I played when writing songs. In 1988 I started my solo career and had problems getting a piano player who could play Lewis style. I decided to do it myself. I’d never played rock n roll and boogie woogie before so I had to practice a lot. I was blessed to be able to remember what my brother showed me back in the 60’s and 70’s. It took a few weeks of playing a lot at home and also on gigs, but I figured it out. I only play one instrument.
RRX: You sound like you’ve played your whole life. What was your first performance?
LGL: Bridgeport Connecticut. I flew up from Memphis to play with the Barrelhouse Boys. I assumed they had a piano player. They only had a piano and expected me to play so I did. It wasn’t my best but we got through the night.
That was 1988
RRX: That’s great! What have you been doing during the pandemic to keep busy?
LGL: I’ve played some gigs here in Texas and I was in Memphis last year a few times. Played a gig on my birthday July 18 2020, played in Meridian, Mississippi when they inducted Jerry into the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Hall of Fame, then I played at Jerry’s birthday celebration at the Lewis Ranch September 29. I wrote and recorded a song “Oh Pandemic”. Did duets with Lawson Vallery from Norway, Ezra Lee from Australia, Paul – Romney Angel from the UK, and Dale Watson
RRX: Sounds busy, but I’m sure you’re looking forward to your northeast tour, besides Troy, where are you playing?
August 13 – The Sportsman Tavern, Buffalo, NY
August 15 – Sennebec Farm, Union, ME (Private Event)
August 17 – Lenny’s, Westbrook, ME
August 18 – Askew, Providence, RI
August 19 – Café Nine, New Haven, CT
August 20 – The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ
August 21 – Buckley’s, Valley Stream, NY
RRX: One last question, the last time I saw you was at Viva (actually I’ve seen you there twice, once warming up for your brother), but the last time was with Eddie Angel and Los Straitjackets along with your daughter and son in law, will Annie and Danny be joining you on this tour as well?
LGL: I love my kids and we play together a lot. I would have loved having them with me, but It would’ve been a long way for them to travel and they have a lot of gigs here in Texas. but hopefully they can join us next time.
I’m so excited about the tour. I’ve always wanted to play with The Lustre Kings. They backed my mentor Wanda Jackson.
RRX: The Lustre Kings are local favorites and The Hangar on the Hudson, in Troy, is one of our favorite venues, Brian Gilchrist takes good care of everyone. Eddie Angel is also from the area, and he loves the Hangar as well.
Thank you very much for your time, and I can’t wait to see you perform again.
LGL: Thank you so much Ed. I’m looking forward to seeing you
RRX: Is there anything else you would like to add?
LGL: I’d like to say that I’m very excited about my tour with The Lustre Kings. I’m happy to have new places to play. I’m happy to do more shows in my own country.
It’s wonderful that we can enjoy music and gigs again. The pandemic was really hard for all of us.
RRX: Very nice, thanks again!
LGL: I would like to thank Fernando Pinto for booking the tour.