Brad Lewis - lead vocals and acoustic guitar

Born in 1962, Brad hails from the Utica area of upstate New York, where at the age of nine he started learning how to play the bass “fiddle” and singing in the school choir. At age eleven he started taking lessons on the 5-string banjo and taught himself to play the guitar using a Jim Croce song book his older brother had. “My folks were always very supportive of my music. My Mom taking me and the bass to school in the station wagon and I can still hear Pop say 'Hey Brad, how about playing Bad, Bad Leroy Brown!'” When he was 14, his family moved to Louisville (Lou-a-vul to the natives) Kentucky where he found southern rock and bluegrass music. “I remember being in the infield at my first Derby, it was hot as anything. Some guys had brought their instruments in and we were havin’ a blast singin’ tunes like Rocky Top and Fox on the Run. It was great fun!” At 17 his family then moved to Westport Connecticut where he could be found singing at backyard parties, the beach and open mic nights. “Because of my love of singing it was a natural gravitation to play guitar to accompany myself. I listened to a lot of rock but my heart was in the country. I remember standing in my folk’s driveway sometime in the early '80's and my father handing me Willie's Stardust album. That was a big turning point in my music and he's still one of my heroes.” Some other strong influences for Brad are the Marshall Tucker Band, John Denver, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jerry Jeff Walker and John Prine, Johnny Cash to name a few. When he covers somebody else’s songs, he puts his heart and sole into it and has a way of claiming them for his own.

He started Cinnamon Sky in ‘89 as a duet with a fellow he had met. He got the name Cinnamon Sky from a song Willie recorded by the name of A Horse Called Music. When that ride ended 3 years later they had evolved into a 7-piece band. They were voted country band with most style in the Fairfield Country Readers Poll in ‘91 and got to play venues like the Levitt Pavilion in Westport, the Oyster Festival in Norwalk, Shenanigans and they were featured on The Exchange on channel 12 as well.  They broke up due to “irreconcilable differences” and had their last gig in October of ‘92. “I hardly picked up my guitar for 5 or so years after that."

He met Bob Willaum through a mutual friend around ‘97 and they hit it off pretty well and played together a bit but it took Brad a few years to really get back into playing again. “It was strange but I just didn’t enjoy it the way I used to. It wasn’t until about 2000 that I really started playing seriously again. I was driving home from my shop one night and happened upon an interview on WPKN with a lovely sounding young Irish woman by the name of Liz McNicholl. I actually called my answering machine to leave her name so I wouldn’t forget it! I contacted her the following day to get her CD and went to hear her perform shortly thereafter. She got me up to sing a song with her and that was the spark that got the flame burning again.” 

 

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