Linda Gail Lewis
Photo: Todd V. Wolfson
Linda Gail Lewis is the younger sister of one of music’s great performers, Jerry Lee Lewis. After decades preforming and recording with her brother, she released a critically acclaimed album of duets performed with Irish rocker Van Morrison in 2000.
Like her brother Jerry Lee, Linda Gail Lewis soaked up the sounds of hillbilly music and rhythm and blues in the rural areas of Louisiana. When Jerry Lee began to score hits with “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire”, he singlehandedly lifted the family from dire poverty to a life of relative ease.
Linda Gail’s chief inspiration was Jerry Lee, but later, as the era of rock ‘n’ roll came into play, she also tuned into the sounds of Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, and Lavern Baker.
Lewis’s official recording debut came when she performed as Jerry Lee’s duet partner for Sun Records in 1963. Lewis’s first two solo releases, did well but It was after Jerry Lee mounted his late-1960s comeback via country music that Linda Gail Lewis made it onto the charts. Recording with her brother, she scored a top ten country hit with a version of Carl and Pearl Butler’s “Don’t Let Me Cross Over.” A rousing duet remake of Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven,” a staple of her act, followed it onto the charts. The Lewis duo’s 1969 Smash LP “Together”, featured their rowdy duet style on a variety of country standards and rockers. This led to Lewis’s debut solo album for the label, The Two Sides Of Linda Gail Lewis.
In addition to composing material for her brother’s top-selling Smash and Mercury discs, Lewis also garnered an ASCAP award for her song “Smile, Somebody Loves You,” a top 40 country hit.
During this time, Lewis toured almost non-stop as part of her brother’s show. By 1977 she had had enough—she quit the act, married a man outside the music industry and started a new family.
After a hiatus of nearly ten years, Lewis returned to music in the late 1980s, touring briefly with Jerry Lee before belatedly going solo at age 39. Lewis caught a career break when the New Rose label in France released International Affair, her first solo album in 23 years. Well regarded by critics for its raw, openly country sound, the album did not get much distribution in the United States, but put the European rock community on notice that she was available for shows.
Lewis’s biggest career boost came via legendary Irish rocker Van Morrison. Lewis met Morrison at a Jerry Lee Lewis convention in England. After a sound-check jam session, Morrison proposed the collaboration, which resulted in the 2000 Pointblank/Virgin album You Win Again The album reached the pop charts and sold strongly at the duo’s live shows. It became Lewis’s best-selling disc.
Over the next 15 years Lewis toured the world constantly playing some of the biggest and most prestigious rock and roll festivals. During 2014 Lewis met Rockabilly guitarist Danny B Harvey who introduced her to Quentin Jones ofLanark Records. Jones had just finished co-producing and playing guitar on a new album by Robert Gordon and was looking for his next project when Harvey introduced him to Lewis.
Jones proposed recording an album of new songs recorded at the Lanark Studio during four days in February 2015. Lewis, Jones, Harvey along with DrummerBlair King and backing vocals Annie Lewis, Linda daughter went into Lanark’s studio and cut 12 new tunes
2015 Hard Rocking Women
Hard Rockin Woman, Linda’s first album on Lanark Records, captures the spirit and soul of her live performances, the ones her fans around the globe have come to love! Recorded at the famed Lanark Studios, in Lancaster Pa, on the evenings of Feb 19th, 20th and during the day of the 21st, 2015. It was recorded and mixed the old school way with a real band with real instruments using a MCI JH24, a set of 1176s, a dbx 160, a Roland Space Echo, a Tascam Spring Reverb, a Sanco Reverb Chamber, Yamaha speakers on a AMEK Angela console. All songs were tracked live and complete. Some tracks are 100% live and some have a guitar overdub here or a harmony overdub there. No programing, digital editing, or pitch correction / auto tune was used it the making of this album! Enjoy" Mr. Sands, 2015
recorded with the Sanco 500 process for that world famous Lanark sound!