Merna Lewis - The Barefoot Fiddler
A Colorado native with a rich musical heritage, unprecedented passion, and dedication, Merna Lewis is a force behind the fiddle. Every melody born from years of trial by fire, education, and persistence. You don’t just listen to Merna play the fiddle; you FEEL her play the fiddle. Pieces of the Colorado mountain tops, the Texas plains, and the Nashville honky tonks are evident with every performance, and the brand of The Barefoot Fiddler is sawed into their fabric as well.
She moved to Nashville in 2003 and immediately ranked as one of the first call fiddle players for the Lower Broadway Honky-tonks, which led to touring opportunities with Trent Willmon and Tanya Tucker as well as many studio recording sessions. You can hear Merna playing on many independent artist CDs and EPs. When she’s not in the studio or on tour, you can still catch her playing barefoot in the Nashville honky tonk bars. Don't be surprised if she comes to your table, fiddle in hand - she might just let you play fiddle on the spot!
Merna began playing the fiddle from the age of 7, and now stands on the winged shoulders of her late Aunt Bettie Freel, well-known musician and music teacher in the San Luis Valley; and deceased Grandmother Marie Bond Riggenbach, violin virtuoso, The Juilliard School of Music graduate and teacher of violins at the Brearley School for Girls in New York City, and founder of Riggenbach School of Music in Alamosa, CO.
As a youngster, she competed at many regional and national fiddle contests, placing 1st place in her division at the Albuquerque State Fair Fiddle Contest, 2nd place time and time again at contests in the state of Colorado, and 15th in her age division at the National Fiddle Championship contest in Weiser, ID. She also sat 1st chair violin in the Alamosa Symphony Orchestra for Children under conduction of Robert Walkley and earned several high merits in solo and ensemble competitions.
Merna earned her Associate of Applied Arts Degree in Commercial Music from South Plains College, Levelland, TX in 2002. While in school and afterward, Merna played around the Texas circuit with many bands and ensembles, playing all styles of music from rock and roll to jazz to Texas Western Swing.