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Homegrown Plus: Lakota John Locklear and Kin

Sitting in a row across the stage: a woman playing washboard, a woman playing tambourine, a man playing guitar, a man playing harmonica. Standing behind them, a man playing percussion.

Lakota John and Kin perform on the stage of the Coolidge Auditorium, August 7, 2019. Front Row: Tanya Elk Locklear, Layla Locklear, Lakota John Locklear, Sweet Papa John Locklear. Back row: Joseph Miller. Photo by Stephen Winick.

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with Lakota John Locklear and kin, a blues family band of Native American heritage.

Lakota John, born in 1997, blends traditional styles of the Delta and Piedmont acoustic blues with bottleneck slide guitar. He grew up listening to his father’s music collection and learned to love the blues. He began playing the harmonica at seven years old, and the guitar at nine. Intrigued by the sound of the slide guitar, by ten he had begun to learn slide guitar using a glass slide on his little finger. He earned two scholarships to study with the late John Cephas, Phil Wiggins, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, and Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton. He is a 2015 NAMA (Native American Music Awards) nominee and has opened for and shared the stage with Native American blues artist Pura Fe; blues icon Taj Mahal; Native blues rocker Keith Secola; blues historian and musician Scott Ainslie; Native American blues guitarist Cary Morin; and many others. Lakota John continues to learn alongside the elder blues masters, carrying on the traditional sounds of the acoustic Piedmont blues as well as electric blues guitar styles.

Lakota John played in the Coolidge Auditorium on August 7, 2019. He was joined in concert by his mother, father, and sister, along with family friends. Watch the exciting concert in the player below.

Lakota John and his family belong to the Lakota/Tuscarora and Lumbee Nations of South Dakota and North Carolina. The Lumbee Nation is the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi. It is a recognized tribe by the state of North Carolina but has gained only partial Federal recognition.

Lakota John, seated in a chair onstage, plays a cedar flute.

Lakota John plays a cedar flute and Andrew Beck plays bass in concert at the Library of Congress, August 7, 2019. Photo by Stephen Winick.

Native Americans have made an often overlooked but deep contribution to the blues tradition; Charlie Patton, Scrapper Blackwell, Jesse Ed Davis, Elizabeth Cotten, Jimi Hendrix and many other blues artists claimed Indian heritage. This makes Lakota John just the latest in a long tradition of Native American blues musicians. In the oral history, I talked with Lakota John and his family about this aspect of music history, as well as about their own experiences as musicians. Watch the interview in the second player.

You can find both of these videos with more bibliographic information on the Library of Congress website, with the concert here at this link and the oral history at this link.

Read more about Lakota John at his website.

The American Folklife Center’s Homegrown Concert Series brings music, dance, and spoken arts from across the country, and some from further afield, to the Library of Congress.  For information on current concerts, visit the Folklife Concerts page at Concerts from the Library of Congress. For past concerts, including links to webcasts and other information, visit the Homegrown Concerts Online Archive.

Enjoy the Homegrown 2020 Concert Series at Home!

The American Folklife Center is very pleased to announce our Homegrown Concert Series for 2020, which we’ve nicknamed “Homegrown at Home.” These concert videos, recorded at home by the artists, will be presented online each Wednesday at noon, initially on the AFC Facebook page and then permanently on the Library of Congress YouTube channel and website. The series kicks off on June 24 with a concert by the Riley Family Band, featuring GRAMMY-winning accordionist, fiddler, and singer Steve Riley of the leading Cajun band Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. For this special concert Steve is joined by his talented sons, Burke and Dolsy Riley. The series will then continue every Wednesday at noon through September, with concerts including music from far and wide: from the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, from the Catskills in upstate New York to the Louisiana bayous, and from Scotland to Sweden.

Live! In the Archive: an Interview with Lone Piñon

On January 29th, the AFC launched the Live! In the Archive concert series, where artists are invited to perform selections from the Center’s collections live in its reading room. The first artists featured in this new concert series were Lone Piñon. The video of their Live! In the Archive concert is embedded in this blog post, which also contains an interview with Jordan Wax and Tanya Nuñez of Lone Piñon.

Homegrown Plus: John McCutcheon Takes the Archive Challenge!

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. We’re continuing the series with John McCutcheon, an American folksinger, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. McCutcheon is regarded as a master of the hammered dulcimer, and in the concert displayed jaw-dropping proficiency on guitar, banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, fiddle, jawharp, piano, body percussion, and other instruments. McCutcheon is a master performer whose 36 albums have earned 6 Grammy nominations. For this concert, McCutcheon did something else that was very special to us: he took the Archive Challenge, playing exclusively material from American Folklife Center collections. The oral history is filled with fascinating stories of his long career.

Homegrown Plus: Cedric Watson Trio

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with Cedric Watson, a four-time Grammy-nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist, and songwriter. Watson is one of the brightest contemporary talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole and […]

The American Folklife Center Is On the Job!

Out of an abundance of caution due to COVID-19, all Library of Congress buildings and facilities are closed to the public, and American Folklife Center staff are currently teleworking. In such uncertain times, we wanted to reassure our followers on social media, as well as those who use our collections and services in other ways, that we remain committed to serving the public as fully and as long as we can. Although most of us on the American Folklife Center staff have been staying away from our beloved Jefferson and Adams Buildings, we are on the job! In this blog, you’ll find all the ways you can connect with us and enjoy our collections while you’re staying safe at home.

Homegrown Plus: Vishtèn

In the Homegrown Plus series, we present Homegrown concerts that also had accompanying oral history interviews, placing both together in an easy-to-find blog post. (Find the whole series here!) We’re continuing the series with Vishtèn, an award winning Canadian band that performs both traditional and original Acadian music with rock energy. Their original “neo-traditional” compositions are based on […]

Winding Down the Civil Rights History Project: A Retrospective and Appreciation

As African American History Month concludes in 2020, the AFC is proud to announce the culmination of the Civil Rights History Project (CRHP) with the online release of the last batch of the 145 video interviews recorded with veteran activists for the collection. All the interviews are available on the Civil Rights History Project page, at […]

James Hogg: Scotland’s Shepherd Poet

This is a guest post by Valentina Bold and Nancy Groce. On February 21, the American Folklife Center will join the University of Stirling to present a one-day public symposium celebrating the 250th anniversary of the contributions the influential Scottish song-maker, folklore collector, novelist, and poet James Hogg (1770-1835). Often called “The Ettrick Shepherd,” Hogg […]