Laurie's Band: The Right Hands
Since joining forces with Laurie in 1986, Tom’s versatility and diverse musical influences come to the fore every night on stage with the band. He plays primarily mandolin with the band, but is also an accomplished fiddle, mandola, and guitar player. His background as a rock and swing musician adds a uniquely satisfying flavor to the band. His rhythmic approach to mandolin especially punctuates the band’s repertoire, adding to their on-stage shows a verve and excitement that has become a distinctive feature of their performances. He is a fine lead vocalist, the ideal harmony partner for Laurie (it’s not for nothing that their duet collaboration The Oak and the Laurel was so highly regarded that it was a Grammy nominee for the Best Traditional Folk Album of 1996), and occasionally functions as the comic foil for on-stage goings-on whenever things get too weighty. Tom can be heard on most of Laurie’s recordings; their other duet albums, Guest House and Winter’s Grace; and the band’s The Golden West and Live. Originally from New England, Tom moved to Berkeley from Arizona, where he played many kinds of traditional and original music with Summerdog and Flying South; and San Diego, where he honed his swing chops with the Rhythm Rascals.
Be sure to check out Tom’s critically acclaimed solo album on Signature Sounds and DogBoy Records, Jubilee. Featuring help from Laurie, Todd Phillips, Peter McLaughlin, Craig Smith, Mike Marshall, David Grier, Rob Ickes, Darol Anger, and Herb Pedersen, the album is marked by Tom’s trademarks¾versatility and diversity¾featuring everything from straight-ahead bluegrass to old-time country to selections from more contemporary realms.
Click the link to read the Mandolin Magazine Interview: Tom Rozum - A Rhythm Rascal’s Varied Influences By Bob Loomis
Chad, who has won plaudits as the fiddler with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, is a much-sought-after teacher, and greatly in demand as a session player. Chad has been playing fiddle since the age of 8, and toured the Northwest extensively with his family’s band, Homeward Bound. As a teenager Chad twice won Washington State Junior Fiddle Championships. He also placed in the top five in the Junior and Adult divisions at the National Old Time Fiddler’s Contest in Weiser, Idaho.
Through adolescence and his college years, Chad immersed himself in the styles of fiddle masters from different genres (including old-time, Western Swing, and bluegrass). After graduating from college with degrees in Creative Writing, Literature, and Philosophy, Chad moved to San Francisco to pursue his writing and continue playing music. Since his move to the Bay Area, Chad’s writing has appeared in a number of literary journals and he has recorded two solo albums: In the Midst and Old Gnarly Oak.
In the late 1990s, Laurie heard Chad playing at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, and they’ve been scheming on a way to play music together ever since. Their hopes are finally realized with this edition of The Right Hands. Chad’s fiery yet sweet fiddling is a perfect addition to Laurie’s music. He can be heard on Laurie’s CD, Blossoms.
Andrew is a composer, guitarist, double bassist, sound artist, and teacher. Andrew grew up near Philadelphia, in Wyndmoor, PA, and studied jazz guitar with Philadelphia shredder Ed Scott. He attended Oberlin College, emerging with a bachelor’s degree in jazz guitar. He has written pieces for orchestra, chamber ensemble, jazz band, and choir, and his music has been performed across the nation by groups ranging from the Oberlin Jazz Septet to the Germantown Friends School Choir. His bass-playing combines perfect timing with a playful sensibility that allows him to craft lines that knit the ensemble together seamlessly; his occasional solos are real gems of melodic invention and rhythmic intensity. Andrew is a much-sought-after bassist; besides gigging with The Right Hands, he performs with other Bay Area acts, including Quinn, Timosaurus, and Host Family. As if his plate weren’t full enough already, Andrew is currently pursuing a master’s degree in composition at San Francisco State University. He can be heard on Laurie’s CD, Blossoms.
Patrick, a native of Arcadia, CA, has been playing old-time, Cajun, and bluegrass music ever since he can remember. His introduction to performing came at the knee of his father, old-time master fiddler and claw-hammer banjo player Tom Sauber, a stalwart of the traditional music scene in Southern California. Patrick’s first gigs found him playing triangle, and, at 10 years old, he was playing accordion in a Cajun band with his dad. Under the guidance of his father (with whom he still performs), Patrick has developed a keen ear, unusual depth to his playing, technical expertise, and an encyclopedic knowledge of traditional music forms that is rare in one so young. Patrick has recorded or performed with many artists, including Doc Watson, Herb Pedersen, Weird Al Yankovic, The Limeliters, Richard Greene, Christ Stuart & Backcountry, Dirk Powell, and many others. In 2003, Christopher Guest asked Patrick to be the banjo player in The New Main Street Singers in the folk-music satire movie, A Mighty Wind. Patrick also played on the soundtrack CD and toured with the film’s cast. A formidable talent on banjo, Cajun accordion, mandolin, and guitar (“He’s the kind of guy who could probably get music out of anything he puts his hands on,” says Laurie), he primarily plays banjo in The Right Hands, also taking a tasty turn on guitar and accordion on selected numbers. Patrick can be heard on Laurie’s CD, Blossoms.
Laurie has recorded one studio album and one live album with The Right Hands. Besides Tom Rozum, that band featured the redoubtable Todd Phillips on bass, Craig Smith on banjo, and Scott Huffman on guitar. While Laurie and Tom look forward to any and every chance they get to play with Todd, Craig, and Scott, singly or all together, in recent years life has intervened: Todd has been touring full-time with Joan Baez, Craig is only available for East Coast gigs, and Scott seldom travels to the West Coast. However, you may see one or more of them at selected shows, so we’d like to tell you a bit more about them.
Todd has been appearing regularly with Laurie since the summer of 1996. In 2008, he began touring extensively with folk icon Joan Baez. Along with a move to Nashville, this has made him less available to play with Laurie, but he still manages to squeeze in a show here and there. An original member of the seminal David Grisman Quintet, Todd has also played and recorded with the Tony Rice Unit; the Bluegrass Album Band; Phillips, Grier & Flinner; and Psychograss. Best known for his consummate bassmanship, Todd is also a talented mandolinist. Of late he has also carved out a second career as producer. True Life Blues: a Tribute to Bill Monroe, produced by Todd for Sugar Hill Records, won the 1997 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. In addition to producing the all-star compilation tribute to Monroe, Todd played bass on virtually every cut, reminding us once again that he is one of the few real stylists on acoustic bass in our midst and is among the very best practitioners of that instrument on the traditional music scene today.
Todd has also produced albums for Kathy Kallick, David Grier, Matt Flinner, and Noam Pikelney, as well as a wonderful album of fiddle tunes featuring musical compadres Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien, Tony Trischka, Scott Nygaard, John Reischman, and Laurie Lewis, entitled In The Pines. He has toured and recorded with the trio of Phillips, Grier & Flinner as well as Psychograss. Todd also appears prominently on many albums by others, including Tom’s and Laurie’s The Oak and the Laurel and Guest House; Laurie’s True Stories, Earth and Sky, Seeing Things, Laurie Lewis and Her Bluegrass Pals, Blossoms; and the band’s The Golden West and Live.
Craig grew up in San Bernardino, CA. He and Laurie first met and began playing music together at the Golden West Bluegrass Festivals in Norco in the mid-’70’s. When he relocated to North Carolina to be in the bluegrass music heartland, they kept in touch and continued to record and tour together whenever possible. Craig’s impeccable taste, timing and tone have made him a much-sought-after studio player, and his playing has graced the albums of (to name a few) Jerry Douglas, Bobby Hicks, Herschel Sizemore and Ronnie Bowman. He has won Grammys for his work on the Dobro Summit album and Todd Phillips’ True Life Blues: the Songs of Bill Monroe. He can be heard on Laurie’s and Tom’s duet albums, Guest House, The Oak and the Laurel and Winter’s Grace; Laurie’s Love Chooses You, Earth and Sky, Laurie Lewis and Her Bluegrass Pals, and Blossoms; and the band’s The Golden West and Live. Craig is much in demand as a music teacher in and around Winston-Salem, NC, where he lives with his three children, Evan, Breanna, and Caitlin. Family matters and his teaching schedule keep Craig close to home these days, and it is rare to see him outside of North Carolina. He still joins Laurie on occasion on her East Coast swings.
Scott is North Carolina’s best-kept musical secret. A consummate musician on both guitar and banjo, his singing and easy-going temperament keep him in demand as a player throughout the Carolinas, most notably with the Sea Island Ramblers. Born and raised in Thomasville, NC (home of “The World’s Largest Chair”), Scott began playing music and singing at about the age of five, and hasn’t quit yet. He and Craig Smith began playing music together shortly after Craig moved from California to North Carolina some 25 years ago. He can be heard singing and playing on Craig’s Rounder CD, Craig Smith. Until teaming up with Laurie and Tom, Scott had rarely been heard outside of his home state. He has toured extensively with Laurie and Tom since the release of Guest House, in the spring of 2004, delighting audiences everywhere with his beautiful lead playing, rock-solid rhythm, and, as one listener put it, “a voice that is just right—exactly what you want to hear.” Scott can be heard on the Right Hands’ CDs The Golden West and Live, as well as Laurie’s latest recording, Blossoms. A renaissance man or a living anachronism, Scott gardens, cooks, hunts and fishes, plays music and spins a good story. He doesn’t own a computer and only recently bought an answering machine. Scott doesn’t play every concert with Laurie, but joins her and the band as often as possible.