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Mozart Of The Banjo: The Joe Morley Project

by Aaron Jonah Lewis

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    This CD features a densely-packed booklet of liner notes written by several contributors including Smithsonian’s Greg Adams, musician Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton and Aaron Jonah Lewis himself. The beautiful six-panel packaging features artwork by Grace van't Hof, who also plays baritone uke on the album.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Mozart Of The Banjo: The Joe Morley Project via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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Walk Round 02:40
Banjotown 02:36
Banjoland 02:15
Zarana 03:21
Exercise 16 00:30
Exercise 17 00:33
Mauna Loa 06:21
Exercise 11 00:28
Ad Astra 02:43
Freckles 02:30


Mozart of the Banjo is just spectacular! Aaron’s playing and overall musicality is just top notch. Bravo, what else can I say? His tone is fantastic, timing is spot on, just full of life. Piano playing is truly awesome. What a commitment … astounding.
—Jens Kruger

I’m hugely impressed. Aaron brings back these good old days … I’m just loving it. Aaron is so deep inside this style and his playing is great.
—Tony Trischka

Aaron could sit in with any of the greats, Ossman, Van Eps, Bickford, Spaulding, Bowen, etc., and be at home. – Joel Hooks, American Banjo Fraternity

Modern-day banjo virtuoso Aaron Jonah Lewis performs various pieces by the legendary classic finger-style banjoist Joe Morley, aka the “Lightning Player,” on this stunning new Tiki Parlour CD release.

Lewis explores some interesting veins in the roots of Old Time, Bluegrass, Ragtime and Jazz music through his newest recording, “Mozart of the Banjo: The Joe Morley Project.” This project is devoted to the music of the great English prodigy and virtuoso composer Joe Morley (1867-1937), who wrote a significant body of great banjo pieces in a technique that people today call “classic fingerstyle.”

Greg Adams, Archivist at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, says, “Lewis is one of the few performing musicians with the facility to build compelling musical bridges between the printed banjo music and techniques of the 19th century and the instrument’s journey into recorded sound by the turn of the 20th century.”

Aaron Jonah Lewis is passionate about sharing early fingerstyle banjo music. He brings light to the fact that classic banjo was the most popular form of music a hundred years ago, though today it’s almost entirely forgotten. He is “trying to keep (classic banjo) alive and spread it around, as it’s a delightful style that brings joy and connects us to the depth of our shared American history.”


released January 7, 2020

Banjo - Aaron Jonah Lewis
Piano - Tessa Hartle
Recording Engineer - Keith Billik
Mixing and Mastering Engineer - Mitchell Graham
Assistant Recording Engineer; Piano on “Banjotown” - Kevin Allswede
Graphic Design; Baritone Ukulele on “Mauna Loa” - Grace van’t Hof
Second Banjo on “Freckles” - Ben Belcher
Bass on “Mauna Loa” - Rachel Pearson

This album was recorded live in Detroit with no overdubs. Aaron and Ben play Bacon & Day Señorita banjos strung with nylon strings. Aaron’s is from circa 1954-56, manufactured by Gretsch, and Ben’s is from 1938, manufactured by Bacon.


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