Friends Inspire Tracks by a Local Songwriter

Dennis Lockwood

Thanks to inspiration and support from friends, Laguna Beach singer-songwriter Dennis Lockwood recently released a four-track EP entitled “Vaguely Red,” which is available through iTunes and CDBaby.

Local guitar legend John Heussenstamm produced the EP and added his musical talent to each of the songs. The EP also includes Grammy-winning jazz saxophonist and studio musician Scott Martin, as well as drummer Jan Ashley of the Mike Reilly Band.

After being in a popular St. Louis-area band during his high school years, life took several twists and turns for Lockwood, who took a 30-plus year hiatus from making or playing music. It wasn’t until the death of his 22-year old son in 2005 that Lockwood was urged by his wife, and Heussenstamm, to turn to music as a way to heal. “It was hard to do on so many levels, “says Lockwood,” but my wife and John were—shall we say—insistent I keep at it. And they were right. Music saved my life.”

It was another friend, Los Angeles-based artist Stuart Marcus, who unwittingly provided the inspiration for the EP’s first track, an upbeat tune entitled “Red Floor,” when he grumbled during a breakfast with friends, including Lockwood, about spilling some red paint on his living room’s wooden floor.

The songs included on this alt-country style release, Lockwood’s second in three years, touch on some of his favorite subjects, such as the twists and turns of relationships, his deep-appreciation of all things quirky and his total disdain of bureaucracy that frequently trumps reason. In “The Price”, he even takes a jab at the industry where he worked as a private hedge fund manager. “Wall Street is such an easy target,” he said. “I couldn’t resist.”

The track entitled “The Thin Line,” which is followed by the words “between faith and denial,” is Lockwood’s personal favorite on this release. “It may sounds cliché,” he said, “but the song is really about dreams, faith and the power of love, which I believe is the strongest energy force we have on earth, and it’s the only one we can actually individually control.”

Songwriting now takes precedence over performing for Lockwood, who has written more than 80 songs over the past four years. Though, from time-to-time he does take the stage at local venues, where he always loves to surprise and challenge the audience with his off-beat, thought-provoking lyrics and his alt-country rhythm.

Lockwood is also active with Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention programs, encouraging teens to look out for each other, not be afraid to ask for help and to never dismiss the power of music as a healing source. “Kids understand and believe this, sometimes much more easily than adults do,” said Lockwood. He is relying on music’s healing power more than ever, since his wife’s recent diagnosis with cancer. “Music is more important than ever to both of us

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