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THE SWAY MACHINERY: Press

NO LAMENTATIONS
Jeremiah Lockwood Fuses Cantorial Music with a Big Beat, and Reveals Hidden Melodies on the Road to Faith

Almost from the time he was 13 years old and an apprentice blues guitarist and singer on the streets and in the subways of New York City, Jeremiah Lockwood, now pushing 30 and about to be a father for the second time, has envisioned fusing what he has inherited in family, faith and music into a singular experience that speaks to many worlds: with songs drawn from the recorded canons of several prominent Cantors, not the least being his beloved grandfather, Cantor Jacob Konigsberg, and his twin interests in both the mysticism and philosophies of the Jewish faith as handed down through the generations, all coupled to a fairly encyclopedia knowledge of and stylistic immersion in country blues and early rock 'n' roll, Lockwood is taking Jewish music to places it simply hasn't visited before, in what he views as a deeply spiritual act of restoring an ancient tradition he describes as having ben “essentially lost, or degraded” with the waning of the Cantor’s influence in the Jewish community.

His group The Sway Machinery, formed in 1996, has evolved from a hard rock trio with jazz overtones (it occasionally used a small horn section) to a basic quintet (its members have impressive resumes, having played with indie rock favorites such as Antibalas, Balkan Beat Box, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and unconventional, unclassifiable musicians such as Tom Waits, et al.) that challenges-nay, defies--a listener to pinpoint the multitude of sources informing its music. Middle Eastern and, now, Afro-beat stylings are predominant features of the Sway Machinery soundscape, but right smack in the middle of a clanging, raucous workout, whoa! There's Lockwood injecting a spitfire, hard-picked run on his Telecaster that comes right out of the Scotty Moore playbook, circa Memphis 1954; or the blurting, blaring horns offering a sly, sweet riff that also hearkens to Memphis, but rather to the Memphis Horns of the late '60s-early '70s Stax Records juggernaut across town from the Sun Studio from whence a revolution began a decade earlier. To some it might sound like clatter, or free jazz, but sticking with it reveals a compelling symmetry in the instrumental give-and-take, the casual appropriation of sources Eastern and Western that lend the sound a distinctive sweet and pungent flavor; and riding over it all, Lockwood's jittery, dramatic, resonant baritone vocals, oftimes singing lyrics in Yiddish but rendering them accessible in the context of the total presentation. In short, you may not understand what he's singing from a literal standpoint, but the music's energy and Lockwood's emotional commitment make a statement that obviates the need for translation.

Lockwood himself has recorded a striking solo album, American Primitive on the Vee Ron label (and has another solo project in the can, unreleased), but more so than exploring new avenues of musical expression in rock-influenced songs penned expressly for the Sway Machinery lineup, Lockwood is engaged in shaping a mammoth musical project, “Hidden Melodies Revealed,” a work encompassing “20 to 25 songs,” in the artist’s estimation, some being original but most of them drawn from cantors’ songbooks from the early 20th Century and from Jewish prayer book texts (“they’re very abstract, mystical poetry, mostly”), which speaks to the Jewish music tradition he learned from his grandfather and that expresses his own feelings about his faith, which is a source of ongoing study on his part and very much a factor in shaping his artistic sensibility.

Lockwood grew up with music all around him on Manhattan's upper west side. His father, a Gentile who converted to Judaism, is a classical composer, his mother is a public school teacher. It was her father, Cantor Jacob Konigsberg, something of a star in his world, if you will, whose spirituality, discipline, intellect and strength-and recordings-made a deep and lasting impression on young Jeremiah. Tellingly, when asked to define the role of the cantor in the Jewish faith, Lockwood offers an answer that could almost be a self description. To wit: "There's a simple answer and a more complex one. The simple one is he's the person who leads the prayers and sings them, and has to know the prayer modes for all the different seasons and all the different times of day. There's different modalities and melodies for all the different holidays of the year and also for the prayers that happen at different hours of the day. So it's kind of like a wide knowledge of specific musical information and they also have to have a good voice, be a good musician.

"That's the simple answer. The more complex answer is they're more like a spokesman, kind of a collective focal point for the spiritual experience, in its classical formation, in its classical concept, the cantor is the person who guides the group into spiritual experience through the cathartic experience of music. And sort of like a storyteller also. They're telling this story through music. The prayer modes thereof, each one is very specific in terms of creating an atmosphere and certain feeling."

Cantor Konigsberg, the American-born son of immigrant Jewish parents who lived resolutely in the world of their fathers, embraced the new world he grew up in on Manhattan’s lower east side, while worshiping in his parents’ world.

"My grandfather’s way of thinking about the world was very American and very much of his generation, but still he was completely comfortable in both parts," Lockwood says. "I'm lucky in that even though I'm coming from a completely secular background basically, I also have one foot in this other world of my grandfather and his house, listening to old records of old cantorial music, and hearing him sing. So there are ways in which, even without the structure of the circumscribed religious life, you can have elements of it that translate into an experience that still makes sense, that's still accessible, even if you're not living in a ghetto."

Lockwood’s entrée into music was less through the classical or the cantorial than via what he calls his parents' "party music," meaning "Motown, '60s R&B, Elvis, stuff like that." At age 12 dad bought him a guitar, by 13, entranced and inspired by a father-son duo of blues musicians he encountered playing on the street, he himself had become a street performer. A family friend turned out to be a student of the great blues artist the Rev. Gary Davis, and he in turn taught Lockwood some of the tricks of the trade. Then he met Carolina Slim.

"Playing on the street I met Carolina Slim, this great blues guitar player from South Carolina, a singer, and that's when it began more seriously. I mean I started playing on the street and spending all my time listening to blues records and playing pre-war country blues as best I could. Meeting him was like direct from a first-hand source, learning the tradition. He's a very tough teacher, told me I didn't know anything, that I was terrible, that I should probably stop playing. But he was also very nice and kind to me, giving me the time, beating me down so I would be able to rise up."

From the beginning he adopted some aspects of the cantorial singing style he had learned listening to his grandfather in person and on record. These days the cantorial style is the predominant feature of his singing. It’s a natural fit, given its multi-cultural components.

"Cantorial singing style has a foot in two different worlds," Lockwood explains. "One is the world of a mythical past of the Jews in ancient times bringing this modality from wherever they came from in ancient history in the Middle East; and the other foot is in western European music. It draws on both world views, and people debate a lot about where it comes from. There are definitely recognizable elements of Slavic folk music and Balkan-style vocal effects and Turkish-Ottoman classical music, on the one hand; and on the other hand there's a very obvious influence of bel canto western singing. In the 19th Century it started becoming par for the course that in addition to learning all the traditional music cantors would also study western musical theory. That had a very palpable effect on the music. My grandfather could have been an opera singer; he had an amazing bel canto style voice. But he chose to stay in this realm of traditional music. And also, the cantor is an improviser. They're working with traditional material but it's not like set in stone exactly how it goes. You take the modes and you bend it and put your own particular style on it. And then, also, most of the great cantors also composed pieces that access elements of traditional motifs, but would also go off in different directions."

....

Hidden Melodies Revealed made its public debut in September 2007 as a “secret celebration” of the Jewish new year Rosh HaShana performed at the Angel Orensanz Foundation on the lower east side, formerly a synagogue (built in 1849) where Cantor Konigsberg gave his first big concert in 1949.

“This is music of great power,” Lockwood says, “music that’s extremely visceral, immediately emotive, expressive of history but at the same time very present in the moment. People listen to records of old cantorial music and I don’t think they hear much of anything, really; it’s too esoteric for most people; it’s too dry. It’s like listening to country blues. You know, most people can’t listen to country blues. They say, ‘What is it?’ They have no context; they barely hear anything. Like those frequencies in their ears aren’t working. So, for a lot of people country blues got real popular in the ‘60s through the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan—someone said, ‘Let me show you how to listen to this,’ and gave them a context.

“So I thought, something like that, with cantorial music. To use the other things I know about making music, from studying blues, from studying African music, which has become increasingly important to me, from the songwriter—use these skills and treat the cantorial music tradition with these tools, and create something new with them. That was the idea of starting the project.”

“In your average synagogue in America, it’s not on the same level that it used to be. In the ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s, maybe even into the ‘60s, when people would go to a synagogue to hear a cantor and they loved cantorial music, it was their music, it told their story. I don’t see that when I go to a synagogue today; and even if the cantor is good, and trying to do the tradition in an authentic way, just the interaction with the community isn’t there. That’s very depressing to me, because I grew up loving cantorial music, from hearing my grandfather doing it, and it was in a very beautiful, very aesthetic, intense performance kind of way. I believe that the music is capable of being communicative, and if I don’t see that happening, I think, I’m good at communicating through music, so maybe I can do something. I’m good at capturing peoples’ attention—from playing in the street for years and years I know how to scream and shout and jump up and down. So I can use the strength of my ancestors’ tradition and use my own skills that are more in the contemporary moment, and maybe something will come of it.”

But this is not his grandfather’s or any other Cantor’s music. At root it is, because the songs are from Cantor Konigsberg’s repertoire, or from other legendary cantors such as Mordechai Hershmann, whose “Misratzeh B’rachamim” dates from an early ‘20s recording, but is retrofitted for the 21st Century. “You listen to the Sway Machinery version of it,” say Lockwood, “and it’s obviously the same piece but his version is non-metered, first of all—cantorial music doesn’t have rhythm in the way we think of it—it’s not pulse-based rhythm; it’s rhythmic phrases. What they call the mawwal in Arabic music, the non-metered improvisations. Like most cantorial pieces are like mawwals.

“But our idea is,” Lockwood cautions, “that we’re going to turn it into an explosive experiential music experience. Kind of like a party but one that makes you go inward and outward at the same time. People are seeing it either as kind of like party music, or they’re seeing like avant-garde music, or they’re seeing it as spiritual music. I’ve had all three responses. I would say that our audience is not exclusively or not predominately Jewish. Which is also by design. I think it’s music that’s good for anybody.”

On an even deeper level, Hidden Melodies Revealed is in fact revelatory of Lockwood’s ongoing spiritual inquiry. As a student of the Talmud and other Jewish texts—“I’m studying Jewish texts all the time, more than I like to admit or that I own up to. I don’t think of myself as a religious person, but on the other hand, I am studying these texts all the time.”—his pursuit of the music and the ancient wisdom of the Jewish elders of old are inextricably intertwined, at least to the extent Lockwood recognizes faith working in his own life, which he likens to “an archeological process.

“It’s intellectual in a way,” he responds to the question of what faith means to him. “It’s very much being concerned with an aesthetic, an idea of learning as a form of meditation, by studying ancient texts or studying old music--that that’s the spiritual act, that learning, going in to yourself and this process of discovering something that’s outside the realm of the everyday. That’s where the spiritual experience lies. Obviously then it blossoms in the moments of experience when you’re singing the music, and you experience it in a different way. But for me, when I think about religion I think it means a hermetic, inward, very intellectual experience of going into yourself, and getting to this place through something that seems like it’s not necessarily spiritual; maybe it’s more in the head, but this process gets you to something which is hidden, it’s underneath.”

So studying the ancient texts is done in the pursuit of wisdom, or of spiritual guidance?

“Perhaps wisdom is the right word, but wisdom in the ancient sense of wisdom as almost like an ether, like a substance that we can attain by doing certain ritual actions, and one of the ritual actions is learning. It’s kind of a Platonic idea. There’s this other sphere and we’re here and we can get to that through these little lines that are drawn from there to here. And the lines are words; if you look at them closely you see all the letters of the alphabet on the line.”

And would Cantor Konigsberg have approved of his music being transformed as it is in his grandson’s hands?

“Yeah,” Lockwood answers without hesitation. “He would have liked the idea of it. I don’t know if he would have been able to listen to it and understand it. Any music that had rhythm to it, he was kind of like, ‘What is this? Kids’ new fangled stuff.’ Louis Armstrong was a little too risky for him.”
There has always been something of an air of mystery hanging over some Jewish melodies. The hidden powers attributed by some to niggunim — the insistence of just that syllable being sung on this note — suggest that music is something more than melody, harmony and rhythm. If one could unlock those secrets ... then what? Would the Messiah come?

Jeremiah Lockwood, the extraordinary blues guitarist and singer whose band The Sway Machinery also works its way into postmodern readings of Jewish music, is a little circumspect about his own expectations for the ancient tunes. He is, after all, the grandson of a famous cantor, Jacob Konigsberg (who died this summer), the son of a prominent composer, Larry Lockwood, and he grew up listening to his grandfather’s recordings of Golden Age chazanos. He has fully incorporated that tradition into his own work, never more so than in a new piece, “Hidden Melodies Revealed” that he and the band will premiere on Sept. 12.

“My grandfather is the primary inspiration [for the piece],” Lockwood said in a recent phone interview. “But I am also trying to mythologize about a place of Jewish identity outside the contemporary options that are available. There’s a paucity of traditional feeling both in the mainstream Jewish world and the exclusionary extremism of the ultra-Orthodox world and the morally questionable elements in Zionism. As a diaspora Jew [none of these] answer my craving for a place of Jewishness.”

In a sense, then, “Hidden Melodies” is about retreating into the past to find that place, a secret locus of Jewish identity and spirituality that speaks to Lockwood through music.

In his notes for the project, Lockwood has written, “ The music of the great Cantors is an astounding synthesis of personal creative innovation and total subservience to traditional art forms. In the work of the master Chazzanim can be heard a knowledge of the modes and gestures of ancient synagogue art and the communication of an individual soul rooted in its particular time and place.”

Oddly enough, that is exactly how I would describe the place of the individual artist in the blues tradition, the other musical heritage in which Lockwood has steeped himself. And like the blues tradition, a lot of chazanos, despite the higher degree of education found among its practitioners, is passed along orally. When he sat in his grandfather’s study listening to Zawel Kwartin, Pierre Pinchik and Berele Chagy, Lockwood was being inducted into their mysteries much as he was when he began playing with Carolina Slim.

His band has changed considerably to meet the new musical needs of its leader. Gone is the trio that had been the Sway Machinery, replaced by a new, sleeker model with more moving parts. It’s a change that pleases Lockwood immensely.

“It’s new stuff for me,” he admitted. “Larger ensembles more and more are what I’m about in music, being a composer, arranger, organizer as much as an instrumentalist.”

No secret there.
"P’sach Lanu Sha’ar (Open the Gates for Us)" – The Sway Machinery
Jeremiah Lockwood is a member of Balkan Beat Box and a recipient of the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. This unreleased recording is part of his fellowship project, Hidden Melodies Revealed. Cantorial solos, Afro-pop horn lines, and Jeremiah’s obsession with the blues meld into a sound that’s genuinely unlike any other on the scene today—Jewish or otherwise. Jeremiah performs like a man possessed. His shows, which feature members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Antibalas, and the Arcade Fire, are exciting and frightening all at once. How else would you want your Rosh Hashanah liturgy? I can’t wait for the full record.
Aaron Bisman - Jewcy (Mar 23, 2008)
The Sway Machinery Purim Carnival

rating: 5 stars

The Sway Machinery, unique in their approach and appeal, have been attracting the music critics lately, and not only because of the member crossover with Arcade Fire, Tom Waits' band and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.



Drawing from such seemingly disparate musical backgrounds as cantorial Jewish singing and the blues, Machinery is machinery indeed. Get ready for an old-fashioned Purim throw-down in the halls of the Stanton Street Shul, a living piece of recently restored piece LES history.
MyOpenBar.com (Mar 19, 2008)
Start the new year with a (free!) treat at this Rosh Hashanah show: Singer-guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood, drummer Tomer Tzur and the Antibalas horn section present music from the Jewish cantorial tradition in a decidedly updated context. The Sway Machinery foregrounds the celebratory nature of the music, which should sound awesome in lovely Angel Orensanz.
- TimeOut NY (Sep 18, 2007)
Jeremiah Lockwood stepped onto the small stage at a dimly lit bar in Brooklyn a few weeks ago and immediately summoned the audience’s attention with his unabashed gusto and fervor. He seemed a man with a mission. His band, The Sway Machinery, performed his arrangements of traditional cantorial music, and Lockwood belted out Hebrew lyrics in a soulful, robust voice that brought to mind classic recordings of hazans of the Golden Age — the period between the two World Wars.

Lockwood, who also plays guitar in the band, is the quintessential frontman, delivering a good dose of histrionics and snippets of preacherlike storytelling in between songs. But his band mates do not, by any means, fade into the shadows. He is joined by an impressive group of horn players, and most of the songs draw in listeners with a deep, rumbling hum and then explode with blaring exuberance, fusing sounds of rock guitar, blues, jazz and klezmer.

Now the band is looking toward the High Holy Days, preparing for a show September 12, Erev Rosh Hashanah, at, appropriately, the historic Angel Orensanz Foundation, a synagogue turned art space and venue on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The performance, Hidden Melodies Revealed, implements the structure of a traditional Rosh Hashanah service and includes the debut of a short film created for the evening by animator Shawn Atkins, using puppets designed by Paul Andrejco. The film will serve as the Torah reading, telling the story of the Akeidah, the Sacrifice of Isaac (usually read on the second day of Rosh Hashanah), and will be accompanied by live music and narration. According to the band’s Web site, the show is “part concert, part theatrical event.”

With cantorial music as the point of inspiration, it seems natural — almost necessary — that The Sway Machinery is performing on Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, the High Holy Days are the time of the year when hazans really get to shine.

The Rosh Hashanah service “is almost like a recitative where the cantor is singing for hours,” said Lockwood, 29, whose dramatic stage persona is in direct contrast with his soft-spoken offstage demeanor. “A lot of the repertoire we do is from the Rosh Hashanah liturgy. This [show] will be more focused. The stories are put together in a more coherent way.”

Lockwood, who has a background in blues and has performed many times alongside Piedmont bluesman Carolina Slim, is no stranger to the cantorial tradition. His grandfather was Jacob Konigsberg, a legendary cantor who had tremendous influence over Lockwood’s musical life.

Lockwood, however, considers himself a secular Jew and was born and raised in New York City in a nonreligious environment. And he feels emphatically that The Sway Machinery’s music — and the band’s upcoming show — is not just for Jews but for people of all backgrounds.

“In my imagination, cantorial music is a tradition about being a spokesman for the community and about the artist being a storyteller,” he said. “It’s a cultural communication. The music is for everybody.”

The band, with members who come from diverse musical backgrounds — including Colin Stetson on bass saxophone, Jordan McLean on trumpet and Stuart Bogie on tenor saxophone, all three players from the Afrobeat band Antibalas, and Brian Chase from the New York City band Yeah Yeah Yeahs sitting in on drums — is clearly not trying to cater to one specific group. But one can’t help but imagine that it draws a largely Jewish audience and appeals only to non-Jews who have the most eclectic musical taste. The hipster 20- and 30-something crowd at the recent show in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg section certainly had a strong Jewish presence, but Lockwood, who seemed to know a number of the people who turned out that night, was adamant that the audience was a mixed bag.

“It’s nonsectarian music,” he said. But “in New York City there is a powerful need for new Jewish culture, and there are young Jews who want this and aren’t finding it. So the word is getting out.”

He added: “It is for all music lovers. It has a cultural bent, but the idea is about great art.”

**The Sway Machinery performs at the Angel Orensanz Foundation on September 12, at 10 p.m. Go to www.swaymachinery.com for more information.( Sarah Kricheff is the features editor of the Forward.
Like I do every year, I’ll be spending Rosh Hashanah with my extended family (my family is small, but the inlaws form a large extension) at my father’s shul in Arizona. How many of you will similarly give up spiritual, cultural, and/or community enlightenment to spend time with family and food (also important, but not necessarily first choice)?

If you’re in NYC, you have a FREE, alcohol-dousing alternative (or a late night escape): The world premier of Hidden Melodies Revealed: A Secret Celebration of Rosh HaShana in song. The evening is presented by Jeremiah Lockwood and his band, Sway Machinery, which features both special guest drummer, Brian Chase (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), and founding percusionist, Tomer Tzur, as well as Colin Stetson (Tom Waits, Arcade Fire) on bass saxophone, and the tenor sax and trumpet combo of Stuart Bogie and Jordan McLean (Antibalas). A theatrical concert event, that will also feature an animated film of the Akeidah. Whew.
Aaron Bisman - Jewschool (Sep 18, 2007)
It was a night of multiculti mashups at Brooklyn’s best mid-sized concert venue. First up was Sway Machinery, led by Jeremiah Lockwood. His contributions are singing (in Hebrew) influenced by the classic Jewish cantors - his grandfather Jacob Konigsberg among them - and guitar playing that mixes Afropop and the blues (at times inevitably recalling the late, great Ali Farka Toure). Throw in bass saxophone, tenor sax, and trumpet by members of Antibalas and powerhouse drummer Tomer Tzur and the result mixes the above influences with klezmer, free jazz, and soul. The considerable sophistication of this blend peaked on the final number, in a triple-meter feel of 12/8 with an underlying two-against-three that made it the most polyrhythmic piece of the entire evening. Most worldbeat fusions are afraid to stray any further from a standard 4/4 than the first half of a Bo Diddley beat, so this was refreshing. (I’m still waiting to hear a rock group drawing on Eastern European influences that’s not afraid of their common asymmetrical time signatures, such as 5/4; jazzmen such as Dave Douglas in his Tiny Bell Trio and, decades ago, Joe Maneri, have already shown the way.)
And meanwhile, New York bluesman/latter-day cantor Jeremiah Lockwood and his band, the Sway Machinery, are reinterpreting the vocal stylings of the great 20th-century cantors (including Lockwood’s own grandfather, Jacob Konigsberg) in ways that are both faithful and startlingly new.
Gabe Sanders - Forward (Dec 8, 2006)
A late night excursion out into the cold that was last weekend revealed a sweet surprise as we entered into Zebulon Café Concert on Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. We went on the promise that there would be some good music from the band The Sway Machinery which featured musicians who had played with Tom Waits and The Wu-Tang Clan, so I was expecting some deeply driven blues beats and earthy guitar. What I was not expecting was a full-fledged klezmer band. As sincere as their ancestors, yet twisted with modern grit and irony, horns were blaring, ancient Yiddish yarns were being spun by turns mumbled and screeched into the microphone, and a fanatical beat master was holding the whole thing together – just barely. I especially loved to see the dinosaur of the brass family, the bass saxophone, in action. I had heard rumors of this beast whispered in my small middle-school band rehearsals, where I myself cherished the soggy reeds of my alto sax, but I definitely had to see it to believe it.
I decided to watch some foot traffic for awhile, and was just kickin' it on a plaza when I heard horns playing at a sound check coming from somewhere behind me. Yesterday I told you I'm a sucker for the harmonica, today I'm telling you I'm also a sucker for horns. I followed the sound and ended up at an outdoor stage, the Habana Calle Annex. Sway Machinery, a New York band that plays Jewish soul music, started the set by solemnly walking from outside the gate through the small crowd and on stage, playing all the while.

The trumpet, tenor sax, and bass sax players also play in Antibalas, who I missed the other night but Chuck saw and was super pumped about. Stuart Bogie, the tenor saxophonist, has performed with everyone from the Wu-Tang Clan to TV On the Radio to Sinead O'Connor. The drums and guitar gave this liturgical music a bluesy rock beat. It was great to stumble into a performance of that caliber.
Megan Wiley - About Town (Mar 18, 2007)
Jeremiah Lockwood’s remarkably accomplished, frankly fascinating guitar work and Tomer Tzur’s limber syncopations combine with influences from the Sahara to the shtetl to the Delta (believe it) to make Sway Machinery consistently exciting and emotionally rewarding as well. Here they team up with friends from Antibalas for an exploration of a genre perhaps best labeled Jewish soul.
Pamela Grossman - The Village Voice (Mar, 2006)
Last Sunday I went to see Jeremiah Lockwood's new project: Sway Machinery with the horn section of Antibalas. This was their second show together. I will not exaggerate one bit if I tell you that this was the best Jewish music gig that I've ever been to, in my whole life. They played at The Stone, and at the end of the performance, every single person in the audience stood up and clapped, stomped, yelled for a long, long time.
Elsewhere, guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood (from Sway Machinery) furiously belts out a faux-Chazzanut before launching into a Tom Watts-like Yiddish rant over what seems to be a Romanian military march.

Bizarre? Yes. Incongruent? Not so much.
Few saxophone players bother with the bass sax—just wielding it is effort enough. Even fewer can say they've played nothing but in a band, often in lieu of a bass player no less. Colin Stetson is likely the only reedman to boast this; Jeremiah Lockwood's Sway Machinery is just one of the groups that keep the Greenpoint resident hustling all over town, impressing everyone who hears his genre-defying style. A practiced circular breather, Stetson's solo work ranges from fireside-warm Hungarian folk tunes to bass squonking that jackhammers the mind.
Buzz Poole - The Village Voice (May 30, 2006)
Guest artists [with Balkan Beat Box] included a Spanish flamenco troupe, the Bulgarian Chicks, and Jeremiah Lockwood, a guitarist-singer from a cantorial lineage who's best known for subway performances with 80-plus-year-old Piedmont blues player Carolina Slim. That night, though, Lockwood transformed a '30s Greek rebetika song into Brechtian-punk swagger.
Elena Oumano - The Village Voice (May 30, 2006)
"Harmonically dense, childlike, and at times malevolent..."
-Tim Noe - Williamsburgh Bugle
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