"When Rock n’ Roll became popular, we started to let our hair down and enjoy life and the music. People were stiff and formal until Rock n’ Roll moved them. The world changed when it happened."
Linda Gail Lewis: Rock n' Roll Queen
Linda Gail Lewis is part of a musical royal family - her older brother is Jerry Lee Lewis, and country star Mickey Gilley and gospel artist Jimmy Swaggart are her cousins. While it took Linda Gail a while to gain an audience of her own, she proved in time she was a gifted pianist and singer in her own right, well versed in rockabilly, rock'n' roll & country. Female Rockabilly pioneer Linda Gail Lewis set to release heartfelt tribute album to her brother, Jerry Lee Lewis! A Tribute To Jerry Lee Lewis will be available on CD and digital June 2 and will include a very special bonus EP of duet versions of the hits by Linda’s cousin, country icon Mickey Gilley! On October 28 of last year, the entire music world mourned the loss of one of its most important foundational figures, the great Rock n’ Roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, but for Linda Gail Lewis the loss was much more personal. She lost not only her brother but a music partner that had shaped her own life and career profoundly. And just as many millions of Jerry’s fans the world over sought solace in the many hundreds of songs Jerry Lee performed over the course of his life, so did Linda. In fact, she crafted an entire album of studio recordings that her brother made famous to not only celebrate the deep connection she shared with Jerry Lee but to also keep the memory of her brother alive.
(PHOTO: LINDA GAIL LEWIS & JERRY LEE LEWIS)
Recorded at the legendary Sun Studios, where Jerry Lee Lewis along with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and other founding fathers of rock, Linda Gail Lewis’s A Tribute To Jerry Lee Lewis is an album full of incredible performances, a jubilant celebration of rock music’s rollicking early years. The album was produced by rockabilly guitar extraordinaire Danny B. Harvey, who enlisted his friend and frequent collaborator Slim Jim Phantom of Stray Cats as well as his wife Annie Marie Lewis, who also happens to be Linda’s daughter. Linda has been performing some of these tracks for years but the studio versions have a whole new sonic energy. Just check out the first single to be released from the album, “Down The Line,” along with the fantastic video created while the group was recording in the hallowed Sun Studio halls. Previous album of Linda Gail Lewis' Early Sides 1963-1973 released in 2022. Lewis would go on to record several times with her brother but also branched out to record several solo albums throughout the years as well as a 2000 album with Van Morrison and, more recently, has appeared on albums by Robert Gordon and Ann-Margret! But it’s Gail’s early tracks that truly showcase her historic importance as a pioneer of rockabilly music, and these tracks have now been collected on a brand-new compilation, entitled Early Sides 1963-1973, giving fans of vintage rock and rockabilly a chance to discover her unique talents.
Special Thanks: Linda Gail Lewis & Billy James (Glass Onyon PR)
How has the Rock n' Roll culture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?
Because of Rock n’ Roll, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to travel and meet very talented and interesting people. So, I’ve seen a lot of places, and heard great music. I’ve been blessed to be on stage with my brother and I’ve been on shows with many legends.
Why do you think that the Rock n' Roll music continues to generate such a devoted following?
Rock n’ Roll music makes people happy. It can lift you up when you feel down. You can feel it in your heart and in your soul.
What does to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?
It’s a little harder doing business in the music business when you’re a woman. Most of the promoters are men. I’m very fortunate that my son in law is handling most of my business. I think it’s a lot better nowadays than it was back when I started my solo career in the late 80’s. (Linda Gail Lewis / Photo by Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images)
"Music to me is spiritual. I feel that with every live performance, every recording, and every song I write. The meaning of life to me is we are all here on this earth for a reason. Every day that I live is a blessing, and I try to be a blessing to everyone I know and work with."
Do you have any interesting stories about the making of the new album A Tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis at the legendary Sun Studios?
This album is special to me. I was able to visit Jerry right before his birthday in September. When I told him about our plans to do a tribute album, he was so happy about it. It’s so sad that he passed away before hearing it, but I believe he knows what happens here.
It was wonderful having my son in law Danny B. Harvey to produce this album. He got legendary Slim Jim Phantom to come to Memphis to play on the album. The amazing Luca Chiappara played standup bass. My daughter Annie Marie Lewis was with us. We had a blast in Sun Studios! There was a lot of magic in that studio when we were there.
Why do you think that Jerry Lee Lewis music continues to generate such a devoted following?
I think my brother’s music is so great. It has been for a long time. His music in the 50’s was great, and he continued to make great recordings until he passed away. I love his recent gospel music recordings.
What moment changed your music life the most? How do you understand the spirit, music, and the meaning of life?
Being discovered by Brian Perera of Cleopatra Records was the moment I’ve waited for all my life. Working with my kids Danny and Annie, and having a record company that is the best ever, is a dream come true.
Music to me is spiritual. I feel that with every live performance, every recording, and every song I write. The meaning of life to me is we are all here on this earth for a reason. Every day that I live is a blessing, and I try to be a blessing to everyone I know and work with. (Photo: Linda Gail Lewis)
"Advice from my Mother and Father, was to have faith and believe in myself. They taught me to believe that I can do anything I really want to. They meant Anything within reason of course. They also said that I should never hate anyone. They said it would hurt me more than it would hurt them. My brother advised me back in the 60’s to never sing Rock n’ Roll like a girl. He said “Linda you’ve got to Rock like a man“
Do you think there is an audience for Rock n Roll music in its current state? or at least a potential for young people to become future audiences and fans?
Rock n roll music is a combination of the best American roots and gospel music. Blues, country and southern gospel as well as gospel from African American churches. You put that all together and it makes wonderful music. It’s been around since the early 50’s and in my opinion, it ain’t goin nowhere!! Young and old alike continue to love it. It’ll move you and touch your soul.
Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?
I’d like to go back to Black River, Louisiana, and that table in the shack with my loved ones.
What do you think is key to a life well lived? Happiness is…
I think if you treat people the way you want to be treated, and spend your time doing something you love, you will have a good life!
Are there any specific memories with Jerry Lee Lewis and Van Morrison that you would like to tell us about?!
I have many memories from my brother. One of my favorite memories is my Momma frying chicken on a Sunday afternoon and my brother, my sister Frankie Jean, Momma and Daddy at the table. We were in an old sharecropper's shack, but there was so much love at that table!
Recording and performing with Van was a thrill. He’s a genius songwriter and a great singer. My best moment during that year was playing and singing with Van on The Jools Holland show.
"Because of Rock n’ Roll, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to travel and meet very talented and interesting people. So, I’ve seen a lot of places, and heard great music. I’ve been blessed to be on stage with my brother and I’ve been on shows with many legends." (Gail Lind Lewis & Jerry Lee Lewis, The Midnight Special 1973 / Photo by Fred Sabine/NBC)
What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
As for highlights. I’ve had quite a few. It was wonderful recording with my brother back in the day. Then it was fantastic to get to tour with him again, opening his shows in Europe and here in the USA. It had been a long time since I had been on the road with him, from 1988 to 2008 Opening for Jerry at BB Kings in NYC was amazing! I’m terrible with dates, but it was about 3 years ago.
Starting my solo career in 1988 was a challenge, but a thrill after it got started. It was great to make an album with Van Morrison. I had a lot of fun in 2017 recording with the talented musician and songwriter Robbie Fulks. Now I’m blessed to have Cleopatra Records, a wonderful record label. They are the best ever!!
I have my son in law, Danny B. Harvey to produce me and play guitar with me. He is a genius! My daughter Annie Marie Lewis is a great singer and performer and she and Danny are touring with me. We are having so much fun on stage and in the studio!
Advice from my Mother and Father, was to have faith and believe in myself. They taught me to believe that I can do anything I really want to. They meant Anything within reason of course. They also said that I should never hate anyone. They said it would hurt me more than it would hurt them. My brother advised me back in the 60’s to never sing Rock n’ Roll like a girl. He said “Linda you’ve got to Rock like a man“
What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
I’m still listening to and performing music from the past. I’m doing original songs, but also my favorites from the 50’s. I hope I can do a lot of shows with Annie and Danny. I hope I can write some great songs. I certainly plan to! I’m not living in fear of anything. I just trust in the Lord and keep rockin.
"I’m still listening to and performing music from the past. I’m doing original songs, but also my favorites from the 50’s. I hope I can do a lot of shows with Annie and Danny. I hope I can write some great songs. I certainly plan to! I’m not living in fear of anything. I just trust in the Lord and keep rockin."
(Photo: Linda Gail Lewis)
What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?
I’ve learned how to connect with the audience. It’s a great feeling when we’re rockin together. I’ve learned that it’s always best to avoid making enemies if you can.
What is the impact of Rock n' Roll music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want the music to affect people?
When Rock n’ Roll became popular, we started to let our hair down and enjoy life and the music. People were stiff and formal until Rock n’ Roll moved them. The world changed when it happened.
Comments are closed for this blog post