Rob Lewallen – Guitar, Mandolin, Bass, 3-string Cigar Box, Mouth Harp, Vocals
Rob was born in San Diego when it was a sleepy little fishing village. He moved all over the world, as his father was a U.S. Naval aviator. His dad played trombone in swing bands in the 30’s and 40’s and got Rob started on the trombone at age 9 where he went on to go through the brass ending up on the tuba and sousaphone in high school, bass bugle in ROTC and guitar starting in at age 13. He spent his high school years in the “Canterbury Tales” playing what is now known as classic rock, performing as much as six nights a week in 1967 in Arlington, VA and the greater Washington, D.C. area. Spending his summers with his grandparents in east Tennessee outside of Knoxville, he was introduced to the bluegrass sound early on. Living outside of Memphis and later attending the University of Tennessee, his bluegrass roots continued to develop.
After a stint in the navy and some extensive traveling, Rob settled in Ramona, CA in the mid – 70’s. In 2009 he and a friend started up the Ramona Bluegrass & Old West Fest, now in it’s 8th year, sans the Old West portion, which has split off into it’s own venue. This lent a much greater exposure to bluegrass through the many fine groups that Rob hired for the festival. One of the groups from that first festival in 2010 was the Shirthouse Band, which he joined later that year after they lost their guitar player and lead vocalist. He has gone on to expand his instrumentation since then to the mandolin, bass and 3 string cigar box, in addition to guitar and singing lead and contributing to the band’s renowned harmonies. Rob also writes some original material, some of which the band has incorporated into their repertoire.