Picking up the banjo from her dad and following footsteps from her mother, performing and being on stage has been a natural talent of singer-songwriter Lockwood Barr.
Having just released her recent single, “Adderall & Alcohol,” the country artist continues to refine her sound within the congested Nashville artist community. Performing over 100 shows across the country in 2019 alone, 2020 obviously put her extensive touring on hold, yet it didn’t hold back her creativity. Designing everything from drive-in and livestream shows, Barr has seemingly been more innovative than ever.
The new single magnifies the temptation of bad habits and how sometimes it’s hard to not long for a good time in the midst of the chaos of life. Showcasing her exemplary banjo skills and soulful country vocals, it’s a great pick-me-up song in the middle of the week or for a good time on the weekend.
Opening up for artists like Lori McKenna and Angaleena Presley, she’s performed at venues such as the Bluebird Cafe, Key Largo, and different festivals around the country. Her other accolades include being featured in Music Row Magazine, having a song featured in a Netflix series “The Ranch,” a NIMA for Best Live Country Performer, and a cut on Sarah Peacock’s 2020 track “Burn the Witch.”
We had the chance to dive a little deeper with Barr and discuss her personal musical journey, tours, challenges, and dreams.
We couldn’t help but notice your exceptional banjo skills. How long have you been playing, and what drew you to it?
My daddy, the one and only Papa Barr. He has played banjo since he was a teenager, so I grew up watching him play. I wanted to be like him, so I literally started copying him. Then when I got to Nashville, I studied with Ned Luberecki to really hone my formal skills. To this day, I still tour with Papa Barr’s original 1972 Gibson Mastertone RB 250.
Do you find it difficult to incorporate into your own music?
Not at all. I actually find the banjo to be one of the most versatile instruments I’ve ever played. There are so many ways to pick and strum, and I continued to be amazed with how seamlessly it fits into my songs. The more I play the banjo, the more I love and appreciate it.
I see that you love touring solo. What is it that you love about it, and what challenges do you face/have you faced along the way?
I’m always so confident and excited when I initially book a tour stint. But there have definitely been times where I have landed in the airport or my car has pulled up in that new city, and I’ve thought to myself, “What in the hell did I get myself into?” I think touring alone was an important part of my evolution as an artist because it brought out my grit and determination. As a solo girl with an instrument on my back, I had to stand up for myself and demand respect in everything from navigating transportation in a new city, to making sure I wasn’t getting ripped off by a venue, to catering my stage banter and setlist for very different audiences than I had previously known. I came back from those first few stints completely drained and exhausted. But now…I’ve got this, and it feels good.
Your newest single, “Adderall & Alcohol,” has a groovy country-pop vibe to it. Can you talk about the inspiration and influence behind the song?
“Adderall and Alcohol” was born out of an evening of girl talk and wine (duh) with Kristen Merlin and Gabby Patrice. We spent hours exchanging stories and belly laughing about everything from ex-boyfriends/partners, to memories from college, to the pure mania that is life in the music industry. We ended up honing in on our generation’s often excessive use of Adderall and alcohol, whether for surviving the pressures of excelling in college or falling into recreational habits. We arrived at a point when we realized that “Adderall and Alcohol” was starting to sound really catchy. At that point, I just started grooving on those chords while repeating “Adderall and Alcohol” to that main melody. Suddenly we were on a roll. And thus, “Adderall and Alcohol” was born.
The single showcases impressive styles and textures in your voice. Did you have any vocal training or teachers throughout the years?
Sometimes it’s wild to think that my vocal stylings lean mostly towards the rock persuasion because all of my childhood training is classical. I grew up touring the world with a classical girls’ choir, in addition to school musicals, church choir, and list goes on. My inner-rocker started to appear when I got to Nashville, and I truthfully can’t explain it beyond saying that I instinctively do it. It’s almost like I’ve found my authentic sound, even though, in many ways, it goes against all my training.
Music Row Magazine has said, “She has the goods,” when discussing your vocals. How does it feel to gain recognition like this, and are you concerned about what others say about your music whether good or bad?
That kind of feedback always hits like a euphoric high. There is nothing more amazing than someone recognizing and appreciating what I do, especially from a publication like Music Row Magazine. Of course, there is the flipside of that. Not everyone will always understand or enjoy what I do, but that’s okay. Art is subjective. The mantra I’ve been focusing on this year is, “Figure out who you are and do it on purpose.” I’m excited about where I am as an artist and a person right now, and I have faith that the right audiences will continue to find me. If someone doesn’t get my vibe, I wish them all the best and hope they find music that they love.
Being in the thick of the Nashville music scene and touring extensively, is there a specific venue or two that’s your favorite to perform at?
In Nashville? The Bluebird Cafe is my all time favorite. It truly is songwriter church, and it never gets old. I feel shivers down my spine every time I sit down at a mic there. Out of town? I would have to say the Lost Church in San Francisco. It has a similar intimacy to the Bluebird, and the first show I played there was following the loss of a dear friend. Playing that show was a healing experience, so I will always have a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to go back and play the Lost Church again soon.
And on another note, I love all giant festival stages during the summer…when you walk onstage, you are transported into another world. It’s insanity and perfection all in one.
What does a dream gig look like for Lockwood Barr?
Touring stadiums and large theaters with Sheryl Crow, and then stopping in Nashville to play the Grand Ole Opry.
What are some of your goals you hope to accomplish in 2022?
Playing the Opry is my biggest dream, by far. It motivates me to wake up and be the best possible artist I can be. I have a whole list of goals for myself, but the Opry takes the cake. All other goals are about helping me get to the Opry.