HILLSBOROUGH — Local artist Lakota Locklear, known by the stage name “Lakota John,” will be among several musical talents to perform in the N.C. Roots Music Series.
The shows will be aired live every third Thursday of August, September, October, November and December at 6 p.m. via Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
Lakota John will kick off the series with a performance on Aug. 20.
Lakota John is described as an old soul with a love for the blues. A well-known Robeson County artist, he grew up listening to his dad’s music library, and at the age of 6 he picked up a harmonica, and at age 7, a guitar.
He learned to play guitar left-handed, in standard tuning, and was intrigued by the sound of the slide guitar. At age 10, he bought himself a glass slide, placed it on his pinky finger, and he has been sliding over the frets ever since.
During the pandemic, Lakota John has kept busy performing a virtual concert with the Carolina Civic Center and providing live performances to his social media fans.
The artist most recently released an original song, titled “Together at Home,” to give people in quarantine hope.
Joining Lakota John are The Hamiltones, Dedicated Men of Zion, Martha Spencer and Big Ron Hunter.
Vito, Tony Lelo, and 2E are a trio of North Carolina natives known as The Hamiltones. The group started as background vocalists for Grammy-winning soul singer Anthony Hamilton. When their behind-the-scenes clips of quartet-styled cover songs were uploaded to the internet, they caught fire. Since then, The Hamiltones have been featured on The Breakfast Club, Steve Harvey Morning Show, sold out The Apollo and have been featured on four Grammy-nominated albums; including Anthony Hamilton, PJ Morton, Johnathan McReynolds and Tori Kelly.
Harmony is serious business where the Dedicated Men of Zion come from. For their eldest member, Anthony “Amp” Daniels, it was so serious that every day his mother would call her children inside, turn off the television, and make them sing in harmony, talk in harmony, do everything in harmony.
Singing well together was a virtue that she and her sisters had learned from their own father, and Daniels gave it to his children in return. Older folks in the Black communities of rural North Carolina relied on that singing for everything in a time when both respect and money were especially scarce.
“That’s where that seriousness is from,” Daniels remembers. “They demand respect. They’re serious about what they do and they don’t play with God.”
Next to perform is Martha Spencer, a singer-songwriter, mountain musician and dancer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She grew up in the musical Spencer family and learned to play several instruments — guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass, dulcimer, mandolin — and flatfoot/clog at a young age.
She has performed and recorded with various groups and has been involved with several roots music projects. She has played shows, festivals and led workshops across the United States, Australia, United Kingdom and Europe.
Spencer just released a solo album and has been included in articles in Rolling Stone Country, Cowboys & Indians Magazine, Americana Highways, PopMatters and more.
The final set will be performed by Big Ron Hunter.
Born in Winston-Salem, Hunter is called “the world’s happiest Bluesman.” His father, who was a sharecropper, taught the artist how to sing and play the guitar at a young age.
Mentored by the legendary Guitar Gabriel and versed in R&B, rock and the Blues of BB King, Hunter plays both electric and acoustic guitars in dramatically different styles.
From Gabe’s advice, Hunter developed his unique sound all while raising a family and working a day job. As a maintenance man, he could be found locked up in his closet-sized office, plucking away at his guitar and pouring out the blues.
The N.C. Roots Music Series is presented through a partnership between the Music Maker Relief Foundation, Arts and Sciences Council CultureBlocks Program and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
The nonprofit Music Maker Relief Foundation was founded in 1994 to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time, according to the foundation’s website.
More information on the live streams can be found at musicmaker.org/NCrootsmusicseries.