Jeremiah Lockwood is a scholar and a story-teller; a singer, instrumentalist and composer with an expansive knowledge of musical traditions and techniques that stretch from The Carolinas to West Africa to the synagogues of his youth, possessing knowledge of hundreds of traditional and original songs from around the world.
Son of composer Larry Lockwood and the grandson of the legendary Cantor Jacob Konigsberg, Jeremiah Lockwood began his musical career playing on the streets and subways of Manhattan performing with Piedmont Blues master Carolina Slim.
Jeremiah is the front man for The Sway Machinery, a band with a unique focus on mining atavisms and cultural memory to create new and exciting music. In 2010 The Sway Machinery performed at the legendary Festival of the Desert in Mali and recorded an album, The House of Friendly Ghosts Vol. 1, which features collaborations with legendary Malian artists like Khaira Arby and Djelimady Tounkara. In the years since, The Sway Machinery has performed internationally, debuting in 2012 in Australia, Israel, Warsaw and at the Roskilde and Montreal Jazz Festivals.
In 2007, Jeremiah was awarded the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists to develop his unique concept for a concert-event to celebrate Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year, through a re-interpretation of the liturgical music of the holiday. In 2010 Jeremiah was artist-in-residence at the Jewish Daily Forward, creating a series of recordings based on historic Chassidic nigunim. Jeremiah was a 2011 composer fellow for the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and created new pieces of music for the orchestra.
In addition to his work performing and recording, Jeremiah is a composer for film and theater, notably scoring numerous award-winning shorts for director Paul Andrejco’s Puppet Heap production company. Jeremiah has also toured the world extensively with Balkan Beat Box. Jeremiah Lockwood lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Shasta and their sons Moses Lion and Jacob Ulysses.
This record represents the first ever documentation of Jeremiah’s performance as a solo Blues guitarist and vocalist. LOCKWOOD represents a loving and visceral presentation of the revered country blues tradition Lockwood learned from his longtime teacher and collaborator, the late great Piedmont Blues legend Carolina Slim. Lockwood and Carolina Slim performed together on the streets and in the subways of New York City for close to two decades.
“This release comes off sounding like one of the more rootsy Coen Brothers soundtracks, documenting somewhat forgotten or perhaps overlooked works from American music history but, crucially, highlighting their youthful energy rather than merely resorting to nostalgia.” – Blues Matters Magazine
"He Played Blues Concerts Where the Admission Price Was Subway Fare"
"This release comes off sounding like one of the more rootsy Coen Brothers soundtracks, documenting somewhat forgotten or perhaps overlooked works from American music history but, crucially, highlighting their youthful energy rather than merely resorting to nostalgia."
System Dialing Records
This first ever solo record from Jeremiah Lockwood features a mix of original material and key pieces from the cannon of American Roots music, including Lockwood’s take on pieces by Charley Patton, Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, Skip James and Rev. Gary Davis. Lockwood is clearly a gifted musician and his virtuosic fingerpicking is impressive throughout yet never unnecessarily showy and always reverent of the material he is performing. Indeed, whilst his original material is highly accomplished and fits surprisingly favourably alongside interpretations of such timeless works, it is perhaps as a documentarian that Lockwood excels. His delivery of the specific pieces included here, and his approach to the Folk/Blues/Roots tradition as a whole, is authentic and respectful yet artistic at the same time. Lockwood is in possession of a strange, almost other-worldly, voice whose timbre and natural wide vibrato sound are much more akin to the by-gone era he is so clearly infatuated with. Lockwood’s version of Big Bill Broonzy’s How You Want Your Rolling Done rattles along percussively as it’s title requires and sits nicely alongside the more lilting stand-out original, Hurting, which highlights Lockwood’s clear understanding of tradition and genre as a songwriter and not merely a copyist. Likewise blues standards Hard Times Killing Floor Blues and Spoonful are vibrant and nuanced with all their history intact but stripped of the baggage of years of lesser cover-versions. Were the recordings not so bright and clean one could be forgiven for assuming this was some newly discovered relic of the likes delivered to us by Alan Lomax. As it is this release comes off sounding like one of the more rootsy Coen Brothers soundtracks, documenting somewhat forgotten or perhaps overlooked works from American music history but, crucially, highlighting their youthful energy rather than merely resorting to nostalgia.
Short trailer to the upcoming three part series.
Written, directed, and edited by John Sikes.
Photography by Stephane Giloppe.