Alison Lewis, ably backed by her String of Ponies band, has long been one of the finest purveyors of alternative, if not outlaw, country/Americana in Detroit, a city not necessarily known for that genre by those outside of the city but that actually has a thriving scene. Former Colorado resident Lewis is coming back to play four dates with Minneapolis band the Union Suits, so we took the opportunity to catch up…A
Yellow Scene: How’s the country scene in Detroit?
Alison Lewis: It’s good for me – I’ve been really busy working a lot and playing a lot. I feel like the country scene is going through a weird time right now, not in a bad way. It feels like an end of an era. Things are changing. Little things that keep us connected are going away. We’re all still together and it’s good, but it’s a transition time here.
YS: Do you have any new recorded output planned?
AL: I’m working on it. I’m about halfway done. Or at least, I got about halfway through an album with Jim Diamond [renowned Detroit producer], and then time passed and I ran out of money, honestly. Recently, I went back and listened to it, and I feel like too much time passed in-between, and I’ve been playing these songs live and they’ve changed. So I think I’m actually going to scrap it and start over.
YS: Do you like playing Colorado?
AL: I actually lived in Colorado. Probably around 2008-2009, I had been living in Chicago and I was done there. I had been there for five years and it was time to move on. I have a good friend in Manitou Springs who I went to visit, and I fell in love with it. I was there for one week, and I found a job teaching music and a house. I came back and packed up, and moved there a couple of months later. I was in Green Mountain Falls for a year. I got there as the school year started, and taught for that whole year. I then realized that Chicago was too much, but Green Mountain Falls was so small and maybe a little too secluded, although I worked in Colorado Springs. Then I started booking a tour with the first incarnation of String of Ponies, and we left from Colorado. I do love Colorado, and I’m super-excited to get back there. It’s been a long time.
YS: What can we expect from the sets?
AL: This time, I’m touring with a band called the Union Suits out of Minneapolis. They opened for Whitey Morgan [Michigan country singer] who referred then to Doop [another Michigan country guy], who then referred them to me. I got them a show in Detroit when they were coming through early in the summer, and then they came back again in July and we played a show together. At that point, they were getting ready to play a two-week Mid West tour, and they invited me to come along with them. So I did. I’m out on tour with them again, and for the last four or five songs, they come up and back me up. Then we take a break and they play their set, and I sing backup for them. They’re really great – an outlaw country-style band.
YS: What’s next, after these dates?
AL: We’re going through New Mexico, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Then I was asked to open up, on the day after Thanksgiving, for Uncle Kracker which seems weird but he does this big benefit very year. It’s at the Royal Oak Music Theatre on a big stage, and it’s sold out already. That’ll be exciting. I’m flying home for that, then meeting back up with the Union Suits in Texas. I’m hoping to start recording again when I get back here. I’m rethinking the whole recording process. I’ve been working on a West Coast tour for the winter. A lot of times when I tour, it’s because I want to go somewhere. I haven’t been out west in a couple of years, so this is a good way to do it. I start booking where I know people, and then put the puzzle together. That’s what I’ve been doing – I’ve been busy.
Alison Lewis plays with the Union Suits at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 19 at Front Range Barbeque; 2330 W. Colorado Ave., Colorado Springs; 719-632-2596. Then both groups play at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 20 at the Park House; 1515 Madison St.. Denver; 303-321-0585. Then on Friday, November 21 at the Crystola Roadhouse; 20918 E. US Highway 24, Woodland Park; 719-687-7879. Finally, on Tuesday, November 25 at the Lion’s Lair Lounge; 2022 E. Colfax Ave., Denver; 303-320-9200; $6.