People of "Now I'm Fine": D'Vonne Lewis Dec 2, 2014

by Erin

Journalist/saxophonist Steve Griggs profiles drummer D'Vonne Lewis at

Lewis has worked so steadily since he attended high school that he decided to forgo college. “I started playing with [saxophonist] Hadley Caliman when I was still in high school. Then I went on a West Coast tour with singer Jennifer Jones and just kept getting gigs.” Lewis worked with soul and hip-hop artist Darrius Willrich in the projects Blue Scholars and Source of Labor. He performed his grandfather’s music in the band McTuff with organist Joe Doria. Recently, Lewis toured the East Coast with Ethiopian singer Meklit Hadero, celebrated four years of performing with pianist Ron Weinstein at the now defunct Thaiku, appeared at the Royal Room with Skerik and Andy Coe, and laid down some tracks for Pearl Jam guitarist Stone Gossard. At press time, Lewis was also performing in the house band for Teatro ZinZanni.

“I really don’t know what I’m doing,” confesses Lewis. “I try not to get in the way. I try to listen hard. I try to accompany what’s going on.” He enjoys listening to recordings of African drumming and New Orleans street beats.

Until five years ago, Lewis worked only as a sideman with many older and more established performers. Despite this success, his grandmother suggested that he play his own music in his own group like his grandfather. Lewis began to think about possible combinations of musicians his own age. One night while Lewis was gigging at Tula’s with Caliman, his trumpet-playing friend from high school days, Ahamefule Oluo, sat in. After that reunion, Oluo suggested playing with Cornish classmate and keyboardist Josh Rawlings. Lewis remembered the magic of playing with bassist Evan Flory-Barnes and recommended he join in. The collaborative mix of Oluo, Lewis, Rawlings, and Flory-Barnes called themselves Industrial Revelation.

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Photo by Daniel Sheehan.