M. Lockwood Porter

M. Lockwood Porter

M. Lockwood Porter’s songs toe the line between country-tinged Americana and straight-up rock-and-roll, with poetic storytelling front and center. A SF Bay Area transplant from rural Oklahoma, Porter’s sound recalls his birthplace and a childhood spent exploring the far reaches of the rock canon. The result is something close to timeless – reminiscent at times of Neil Young, Wilco, Townes Van Zandt, and Bruce Springsteen.

Porter first came to the attention of many fans and critics with the release of his debut LP Judah’s Gone in July 2013. At the time, Independent Clauses called him “a talent to watch”, and The Bay Bridged wrote that he was “poised to join… the national Americana scene with the release of his debut LP, Judah’s Gone.” Porter’s newest release “Chris Bell/Secrets” simultaneously represents an evolutionary step forward, a slight left turn, and an enticing hint of things to come.

While Porter recorded Judah’s Gone at home and almost entirely on his own, “Chris Bell” and “Secrets” were recorded in a proper studio over the course of two days in November. Showcased on these songs is Porter’s new five-piece live band, including keys and pedal steel. The band is both tight and spontaneous, bringing the rawness of a live performance to the tracks in a way a home recording never could. Porter’s vocals, too, are stronger and more confident – honed by a year of gigging in support of Judah’s Gone.

“Chris Bell” and “Secrets” are a snapshot of a songwriter in the midst of a growth spurt. Here, Porter’s lyrics are poignant yet unpretentious, with an unforgiving look at the world he sees around him. “Chris Bell” is at once a sympathetic tribute to the late member of 70s power-pop band Big Star, a broader challenge to the myth of the tortured, tragic artist-musician, and a prime example of Porter’s deftness as a songwriter-as-storyteller. The song opens with Porter singing somberly and matter-of-factly:

I know that Paul Westerberg, he sang a song for you But it occurred to me that someone should sing one for Chris Bell, too. Kurt Cobain and Hendrix didn’t make it to 28, But they don’t sell his t-shirts at the head shops in the Haight.

On “Secrets”, a sweet, melancholy ballad evocative of Pavement at their most Beatle-esque, Porter reaches beyond the confines of the “Americana” tag and serves up an intimate, economical story that reads like Paul McCartney aping Raymond Carver; a narrator overhears his sweetheart crying in the middle of the night and gently pleads: “Tell me all your secrets.”

In the coming months, M. Lockwood Porter and his band plan to continue performing throughout California and begin recording a follow-up LP to Judah’s Gone.



Comments are closed.

social network social network