Lenny Trawick

2017 Honoree

Lenny Trawick playing in the Street Feet Blues Band

Raised in the Wiregrass region in rural Josie, Alabama, Lenny Trawick was born on August 26, 1951. He started singing and playing gospel with his family at local churches, and he picked up the guitar at just five years old. Building on chords his mother showed him, Lenny continued to grow as a musician, eventually learning harmonica as well as keyboards. In high school, he played in an FFA band which later morphed into his first rock band, The Swinging Generations. At just fifteen years old, Lenny was the lead guitarist for The Swinging Generations and played clubs on the beach circuit in Florida in Panama City and Ft. Walton Beach. Over time, he would become the lead singer of the band. 

Moving to Brundidge, Alabama in 1969, Lenny soaked in the mix of gospel, country, blues, and rock music that permeated the Wiregrass musical landscape. He remembers being fascinated by blues music when he encountered Junior Barren, who was playing for tips on Love Street in Troy, Alabama. Later, during a songwriting stint in Nashville, Lenny’s interest in blues music flourished further when he became a fan of the Kingsnakes, who played every Monday night at the Bluebird Café. He notes: “Blues – it’s music that hits you right in the soul. It moves you.”

With this inspiration, Lenny later formed the Street Feet Blues Band back in Alabama in 1994. Songs such as “Dodging the Blues” demonstrate his burgeoning appreciation of blues music at the time while drawing upon the rich cultural fusion of country, gospel, and rock. The band was one of the most popular music groups on the beach circuit.  They also played the infamous Thursday Night – Blues Night at the Poplar Head Club in Dothan, Alabama, rotating spots with another local blues favorite, the Mutt Brothers.  

Lenny Trawick performing at the 2017 Wiregrass Blues Festival in Dothan, Alabama

During his time with Street Feet, Lenny had a chance encounter with the late country bluesman, J.W. Warren, at the local Hobo Pantry. Sharing coffee and swapping stories, the two men soon realized their shared love of blues music and began playing guitar together just for fun. Lenny memorialized his times with J.W. in his classic “Blues for J.W.”  

Lenny’s rich musical career has spanned over five decades and has featured an amalgam of blues, gospel, country, and jazz music, performing in bands and also as a solo artist. He has released two self-titled albums of original blues music, composed with James Quakenbush, and has also played backup for Lil’ Jimmy Reed. A prolific singer-songwriter, Lenny estimates he has written close to 150 songs and served as the Musical Director/Composer for the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge, AL for eight years.  He has won awards for blues songwriting at the MOVA Festival in Guntersville, Alabama and also won the Troy Arts Council’s Professional Music Award in 2016.  In addition, he has released numerous recordings by his Good News Blues Band, which features an active prison ministry. 

Besides being a working musician, Lenny also applies his artistic talents to his own sign making business. He explains “that when the music money wasn’t there, the sign money was.” Finally, Lenny is a dedicated and beloved guitar teacher who is deeply committed to his students’ musical development and growth. Lenny says that nothing gives him more joy than to pass on his passion for music to the next generation.