GFB News Magazine

Little Roy & Lizzy are Georgia treasures

by Jennifer Whittaker
Editor, Georgia Farm Bureau News

Posted on March 5, 2024 10:24 PM

Think you don’t like bluegrass music? Listen to Little Roy Lewis and Lizzy Long. You’ll soon be smiling and tapping your feet. If you’re already a fan, you know they’re a treasure.

The Lincoln County natives formed their band, The Little Roy and Lizzy Show, in 2009. Since then, they’ve made a name for themselves as a premier, high-energy bluegrass act performing across the U.S. They’ve hosted 10 music festivals and released eight albums with a ninth due out this spring. 

Before forming their band, the duo released four albums together and a fifth with bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs, Little Roy’s longtime friend. Lizzy has two solo albums. 

Does Little Roy’s name sound familiar? That’s because he played banjo and guitar 58 years in The Lewis Family, America’s first family of bluegrass gospel. 

Formed by James Roy Lewis, in 1951, three generations of Lewises performed together before disbanding in 2009 due to deaths and illness. The family called the youngest of eight children  Little Roy to distinguish him from “Pop,” also called Roy.

Little Roy, 82, has known Lizzy most of her 40 years.  

“I found Lizzy when she was about eight. Her dad stopped at the mailbox and said ‘Stop by the house. We’re having a picking,’” Little Roy recalled. “That’s when I first heard her play the fiddle. Lizzy would want me to come over and teach her stuff. One day she said, ‘Show me the banjo.’ As Lizzy got older, she’d stop by after school. I was gone so much performing with the Lewis Family, so I got her a VHS tape of Murphy Henry showing how to play six songs on the banjo. I told her ‘Don’t call me until you’ve learned to play all these songs.’ Well, she had that down in two weeks.”

After that, Roy and Lizzy began performing together at churches in the area every chance they got. Lizzy also played with The Lewis Family in its last years.

Lizzy, too, comes from a musical family. “My Great Uncle Jimmy played fiddle. My Granddaddy Raleigh played guitar, and my Aunt Paulette could play any style on the piano from Liberace, Scott Joplin, to church music,” she said.

Little Roy recalls playing with Lizzy’s family 40 years before she was born. “It just all went down the line,” he said. 

Fast forward to Little Roy and Lizzy’s current band.

“Right now, we have some of the best pickers in the world,” Little Roy said. “We’ve got two brothers from California, Josh and John Gooding, on mandolin and guitar. Our bass player, Holger Olesen, is from Minnesota, and Hunter Berry, our fiddler, played with Rhonda Vincent.” 

Lizzy said, “What’s so good about our group is everyone can play multiple instruments. We can rotate around.” 

Little Roy, who Lizzy calls “one of the fastest pickers,” primarily plays banjo but also plays guitar and autoharp. Lizzy sings, plays fiddle, banjo, guitar, and is straight man to Little Roy’s comedic antics that often feature his signature red suspenders. 


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