Laila and Smitty - bonding with tradition
Kenny Warren & Jeremiah Lockwood, are two members of Laila and Smitty, a band named after Kenny's great Aunt and Uncle and are one of the many acts performing at the upcoming FLBL xi event, on the 18th of March.
when I asked Kenny Warren, who is first and foremost a Trumpet player, what genre he would say his band is classified as, he winced and says " My influences are so diverse it's hard to really nail it down". With his early influences stemming from Jazz, Experimental, Improvised music, along with varying genres form around the world, he explains how this band at its core is based off of old country Delta Blues.
I would like to take a moment here to break, as I have been writing articles for 'For Locals By Local' artist's for the better half of the year and have been noticing a trend that stems across majority of the musical performers. I, along with the artists, credit our unique generational accessibility to the wide array of music at our fingertips. In previous generations, artists have been categorized by genre, as a form of quantifying their music style. However, going back to my original point, today's musicians are no longer "limiting themselves" to a certain genre. I do need to make one point however - because our generation is at the brink of this new trend, we do still relate to genre based roots and inspirations. More so however, is the appreciation for customs and generational inheritance. "There's a sense of deep tradition" as Kenny put it.
Kenny and Jeremiah, met back when Jeremiah was involved with a band called Sway Machinery; Kenny, the trumpet player, was performing and touring along with the band. One day when they were out West, Jeremiah took Kenny to an old record shop in Berkeley CA and walked out with a "foot-high stack of old'e Delta Blues records" say Kenny, inspiring him to delve more deeply into its history and traditions.
Tradition is the key work in this article.
Jeremiah, grew up in a home with traditional Jewish Cantorial and European classical music, yet as he puts it, "I was unexplainingly being drawn to the blues" (credited to catching hold of a few old country blue records). When he was was 14, he met and began being mentored by local Blues legend Carolina Slim, playing with him regularly until his recent passing. Carolina Slim, was a big influence on Jeremiah, teaching him the traditional blues format, but also encouraging him to form his own musical identity.
So what you can expect to hear at their upcoming For Locals By Local performance, will be a mix of the tradition that is inherently influencing their own modern form of musical Identity.
Following their performance here, Laila and Smitty will be releasing their debut album and performing a release show on the 9th of May, at Littlefield Art Space, in Brooklyn.