Skills: Demonstrating Artist, Public Presentations
A guitar player and singer as good as he is young, Lakota John has been playing music with his family throughout his life. His father and mother encouraged him through early frustrations and it did not take long for him to blossom. At 19, he’s prolific on guitar and resonator, and moves comfortably through piedmont blues standards, ragtime, and original tunes.
As a child, Locklear picked up his sister’s discarded guitar and began “fooling around with it.” “[I] just put my fingers on the neck and, and hit some random things,” he recalls. Not long after, a local music teacher taught him his first three chords—G, C, and D—and he never looked back. He cites musical greats like Jimi Hendrix, Reverend Gary Davis, and Etta Baker as some of his main influences, teaching him timing and how to combine the simple and the complex together seamlessly.
Like most great musicians, Lakota John speaks through his instrument, communicating with his audience. He leaves space and breathing room in between heartfelt notes, and he bends his thumb around the top of the neck to hit bass notes that punctuate jaunty ragtimes and lilting blues numbers. And though John plays ragtime and blues, he still “represents native,” and speaks proudly of his Lumbee and Lakota Sioux ancestry. He also uses his guitar as a symbol—an eagle feather is tied to his instrument, and it is important for him that people know that he’s proud to be Native American.
Lakota John Locklear is now signed with Hillsborough’s Music Maker Relief Foundation, and he’s got a solid backing band for his instrumental and blues vocals. He also leads his family band, sharing the spotlight with his mother, father, and sister under the name Lakota John and Kin. For Locklear, the opportunity to perform for others makes all the practice and hard work worth it. “When you get on the stage, it’s your time to shine,” he says. “All the work’s paid off. And you’re just having a good time.”
Living Blues magazine praised his bottleneck slide work, and his youth promises great work in the future. Recording of Lakota John Loaklear are available at the Music Maker Relief Foundation website, and his website tells his whole story. Visit www.lakotajohn.com for more imformation.