As the first session of the Heritage Music 2022 series kicks off this Friday evening, it will be a “homecoming” for performer Laurel Lewis.
Lewis is originally from Laurel County and has previously performed at Thursday Night Live, World Chicken Festival and other local events – under the name Madison Lewis. She and her family moved to Nashville in 2019 so she could pursue a career in music. She changed her performing name to “Laurel” in honor of her home county in Kentucky a year ago.
“There are so many Madison Lewis’s out there, so I changed my name to honor where I’m from,” she said.
Lewis is excited to return to her hometown to perform on the Kentucky Heritage Music Series.
“I’m delighted. I haven’t performed in London since 2017, since my debut album came out in September 2017,” she said. “It will be so good to see family and friends I haven’t seen in a while.”
Lewis is the first of two performers due to take the stage Friday night, with Lewis’ show starting at 7 p.m. at the Heritage Hills Theater off the Tom Jensen Highway. Although she performs some of her new songs, she will fall back on some of the familiar songs that locals have heard before.
“I’m going to play ‘Unfamiliar Days’ and a new one – ‘The Maze’,” she said. “My name is Americana even though I definitely have more classic country than before.”
Some of that could be attributed to his most recent work with singer/songwriter/producer Rodney Crowell. Crowell was big on the music scene, with five major hits in the 1990s.
“What I do now is work in the studio with him,” she explained. “I hear all these songs that go on big albums, I hear all of the behind-the-scenes stuff that’s going on with the hit artists, and I’m like, ‘I want to do this. I want to write hit songs too. He encourages me to do whatever I want because he believes I can.”
Another new song Lewis will be bringing to the Heritage Hills Theater stage is titled “Hotel Bar Soap.”
“It’s a story of advice given to someone leaving a city,” she said. “The singer is leaving town and here’s a tip for him: always keep some change in the console, and carry a journal and a pen.”
Lewis was recently named one of Kentucky Country Music’s Top New Musical Acts to Watch in 2022.
Lewis’ show will be followed by a performance by Grayson Jenkins, a native of Greenville, Ky., who began writing and acting during his senior year at the University of Kentucky. He gained popularity in the Lexington area and was a regular performer at a local bar for four years. His latest album is called “Turning Tides”. Jenkins credits his influences to classic country stars of the past such as Don Williams, John Prine, Keith Whitley, to name a few.
Lewis said she has never met or worked with Jenkins before, although they both “move in the same circles” in their musical careers, but she is looking forward to performing with him this Friday night.
“Essentially, it’s a homecoming performance for me,” she said. “I’m delighted to have an evening of acoustic entertainment that London needs and deserves.”
Tickets for Friday’s concert are still available for $10 each and can be obtained by visiting www.eventbrite.com. Tickets will also be available at the door before the concert. Concessions will also be available for purchase during the show, along with memorabilia and artist albums.