The Lewis Family Tradition


How it all started:

Pop (Roy) and Mom (Pauline )Lewis formed The Lewis Family and was joined by many of there children. They had eight children: Miggie, Wallace, Esley, Mosley, Talmadge, Polly, Janis and Roy (Little Roy) Lewis.

The family always enjoyed playing music together and continued to do so from the moment their kids were at a very young age. When son Wallace was 12, Mom Lewis taught him some guitar chords, and Little Roy started playing the banjo already when he was only 6 years old. The musical group started out with the four brothers making music together under the name “the Lewis Brothers” until the year 1951, when father Roy and the daughters joined the group and they changed the group’s name to “The Lewis Family.” That name later became one of the most famous names in the world of gospel music.

The style of the Lewis Family was influenced by the legendary gospel music quartets that dominated in the 40’s and ’50’s, but also great artists such as Martha Carson and the Chuckwagon Gang left their mark, though the Lewis Family definitely had a unique sound that was all their own. The group’s musical DNA included a blazing banjo sound, performed by family comic  and quick- fingered banjo master Little Roy, an impressive bass drum and beautiful family vocal harmonies.

It wasn’t just their fantastic instrumental performance and consistent and strong vocal harmonies that led to the fame of the Lewis Family and distinguished them from other groups at that time. The group also included their down-to-earth humor, a gift that came naturally to them, and their onstage professional performances came with clear gospel messages in a unique combination of entertainment, ministry and musical professionalism.

It was in and around their home state of Georgia that the Lewis Family became immensely popular and they became the inspiration for generations, young people keep asking “how can I get the career like the Lewis Family?” Later in 1954, when they started to appear every week on WJBF-TV from Augusta, the group’s contagious musical gifted performances were heard all across the country and they full-time professionals that began to tour all across America at bluegrass festivals and national gospel events. For the subsequent nearly 40 years, the talented and hardworking family group appeared every Sunday on television while also keeping up with a highly demanding travel schedule, because there was hardly an invitation they turned down.

Pauline “Mom” Lewis passed away on February 8, 2003, and patriarch Roy “Pop” Lewis died at age 98 on March 23, 2004.

The Lewis Family (the 3 generations group) continued to give concerts until the fall of 2009 when the group officially retired.

In 2010, Janis (youngest daughter of Mom and Pop) together with her son Lewis Phillips, Travis Lewis (son of the late Wallace Lewis), and Jameson Lewis (Travis Lewis’ son) formed THE LEWIS TRADITION.

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