A very wise person once said, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”—words to ponder, and, if you’re banjo-picking emerging Americana songstress Lockwood Barr, they’re words to live by. Last July, the California-bred Nashville-based Barr released her latest album, Signs Along The Road, which earned her a 2016 Music Row Magazine DisCovery Award as well as a local news feature; she has been recognized by the Country Music Association, and was named Best Bluegrass Artist by the Independent Country Music Association. Signs Along The Road showcases her picking prowess, but also features a bluesy, Bonnie Raitt-esque style—there’s no doubt about it, this girl’s got grit.
Barr was bitten by the bluegrass bug at an early age. “My dad plays the banjo. I remember so many nights where I would lean over the railing of our staircase, and peer down into the living room to watch my Dad playing the banjo like he was meditating,” she recalls. “Something about the sound of the banjo feels like home to me…it’s this primal thing that rushes through my body when I play. We listened to so much bluegrass in the house that I thought the Dillards were a contemporary band until I saw them on an episode of the Andy Griffith show,” she laughs. Barr’s father let her take the Gibson Mastertone he played as a kid, and she uses it to perform. “Of course, he loves to remind me that it’s on loan,” she adds.
After beginning work on a self-produced EP she was recording in a friend’s basement, the hardworking and enterprising Barr had a chance encounter that changed her trajectory. “Meeting Jars of Clay changed both my music and my life. They believed in me, took me under their wing, and carried me through this record and these past few years,” she reveals of the band who helped her make Signs Of Life. “They each individually played such a significant role. “Dan Haseltine offered to help me set up and advertise for shows. Before I knew it, Matt Odmark was producing my record, and Charlie Lowell and Stephen Mason were recording overdubs. The entire process was a complete joy. I grew up with Jars of Clay CDs in my car, and they were the first concert I ever saw at the Ryman,” she continues. “When I began working with them, I found that ticket in my memories box and put it on the bulletin board above my desk. Whenever I’m having a bad day or I’m wondering if my dreams are possible, I look up at that ticket and remember how many of my dreams have already come true.”
For Lockwood Bar show dates: lockwoodbarr.com/shows/