Members of "The Sons of Ralph" are Ralph Lewis, his sons, Martin and Don Lewis, Cousin Steve Moseley, and the "other brother" Ozzie Orengo, Jr.
Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Mandolin, Acoustic/Electric Guitar, Fiddle
Ralph Lewis, who turned 80 in April 2008, has been playing and singing his unique style of bluegrass music since his childhood in Madison County. Growing up in a family of musicians (Ralph’s father was a legendary mountain musician), at age fifteen, Ralph began performing with his older brother, Ervin.
From there he has played in many groups including, The Lewis Brothers, The Carolina Pals, and The Piney Mountain Boys.
In the 1970s, he was invited by Bill Monroe to join the Bluegrass Boys on national and international tours and at the Grand Ole Opry. Sons Martin and Don have also performed with Bill Monroe at the Grand Ole Opry when they were kids traveling with their father during school breaks.
In 2001, Ralph received the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Award which is given annually to "individuals who have made significant contributions to the folk traditions in the southern mountains."
So where does Ralph Lewis go from here? He was in on the cutting edge of rock-n-roll. He played with Bill Monroe, and then left the Bluegrass Boys on his own accord. Now, he fronts a band that’s waiting to explode. What else can the man do?
"I want to get my sons in the limelight while I still can," said Lewis."I’m plugging a 100 percent for them. I’ve already had my light shining."
Ralph pauses and then adds, "There’s no closer harmony than family."
Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Acoustic/Electric, and Slide Guitars, Dobro, Harmonica, Percussion and Keyboards
Martin Lewis is a gifted and prolific songwriter whose music has been recorded by Sons of Ralph, Open Road , Norfolk Southern Lawmen, 40 West, and The Lids. Martin has performed with Chubby Wise and Kenny Baker (former Bill Monroe “Bluegrass Boys”), Vassar Clements, and Hank Thompson, and he has recorded with numerous other groups.
As a child, Martin began playing musical instruments that were ever-present in the Lewis house. In the early 1970s, he and brother Don performed at coffeehouses, CB conventions, United Way events, Shindig on the Green and bluegrass music festivals throughout the Southeast.
From 1974-1976, Martin and Don toured with their father and Bill Monroe during school breaks as the youngest “Bluegrass Boys”. The last time Ralph took the stage at the Grand Old Opry, he and his young sons performed for an audience that included Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.
One of Martin's most memorable experiences as a young musician was in 1977 when he and Don played, with their father and other musician friends, for a special mountain music tribute at the Smithsonian Institution. The recording of this performance is the museum's mountain music exhibit labeled "Madison County, N.C."
On stage, Martin is relaxed and smiling behind his guitar, singing ballads he composed about people and places he knows, such as his beloved Madison County, followed by virtuoso renditions of Southern rock classics.
Fiddle, Banjer, Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Harmonica
Don Lewis started his music career at age 5, first playing the mandolin then graduating to the fiddle by age 10. According to Don, Martin was the intended fiddler, but it was Don who was destined to master this instrument. The brothers' first band was “Ralph Lewis Family and Friends”, formed when they “hired” Ralph away from Bill Monroe. Actually, Ralph freely admits that he left Bill Monroe and international fame as one of the Bluegrass Boys in order to stay home with his family.
After years of performing with brother Martin at venues throughout the Southeast, in the 1990's Don toured Europe with the Shady Grove Band and played with the Red Clay Ramblers on Broadway. His talent and musical versatility caught the attention of Michael Bogdanov, legendary British director of Shakespeare plays. Bogdanov hired Don and fellow Red Clay Rambler Jack Herrick to compose and perform the score for the BBC Wales film, “A Light on the Hill” (2000).
Some of Don's career highlights include performing with Rhonda Vincent at the Grand Ole Opry, appearances on Hee Haw in the 1980s, and recording credits with Warren Haynes, Doc Watson, the Red Clay Ramblers, the Shady Grove Band, Roy Clark, and Ronnie Milsap.
On stage, Don transitions effortlessly between mandolin and fiddle, pouring heart and soul into the music, and taking the audience on his wild ride. His signature piece, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia ” tells the well-known story with new intensity.
Both Martin and Don choose to stay close to their Western North Carolina home, similar to the choice their father made at the height of his career with Bill Monroe to put family first. Don had a decisive moment on the road in a hotel room when he was channel-surfing and realized that his father and his brother were able to work when and where they wanted and have a good life. Don left the band he was touring with at the time and returned home to achieve a different level of fame as one of the Sons of Ralph. He considers SOR the best band he's ever play with – and that says a lot, considering the artists Don has played with over the years.
Vocals, Harmony Vocals, Bass, Acoustic, and Electric Guitars
Steve Moseley is a double first cousin once removed to Ralph, past bassist with Social Funkshen, and a staff musician for the Hogs Breath Saloons in Key West and Destin, Florida.
Steve is married to his dream girl, Wendy. They have one daughter Cassidy, who is Merchandise Sales Director for the Band. Steve is a nurse and he works with people with developmental disabilities and he also volunteers his time and musical talents to Bugles Across America.
Ozzie Orengo Jr.
Ozzie Orengo Jr. was born in the Bronx, NY into a fluent musical family. Motivated by his father Ozzie Sr. to join uncle Reuben Orengo to form The Orengo Band, his family relocated to Asheville, NC.
The Orengo family became known for bringing the latin music scene to the mountains. Ozzie Jr. began playing professionally at age 15 with local and regional bands including Con Clave, Eta Carina, and currently plays with a nine piece salsa band Nuevo Montuno:. His various styles of drumming allow him to play with Motown recording artist Sidney Barns and singer-songwriter Kellin Watson.
Ozzie met the Lewis Brothers at a jam session in 1998. He joined the band 7 years later, and is now known as Brother Oz.
He resides in Asheville, NC with his wife Bridget and son Carlo. You may have seen Carlo on stage with the Sons of Ralph playing Fiddle Sticks, following in his family's musical footsteps.