Local singer-songwriter Dennis Lockwood hasn’t done much traveling, but a song he wrote two years ago is finding fans from Bulgaria to Saudi Arabia.
The lyrics of his twangy country tune “Lonely Boy” satirize the wasted lives and futile efforts of young Middle Eastern suicide bombers.
The song’s underlying message about peace got the attention of Liz O’Garvey, executive director of Willie Nelson’s Peace Research Institute. “A thoughtful take on a difficult subject, done with charm and style. Excellent music video message. Gets one thinking,” she wrote in a comment on the YouTube video of the song produced last year by Lockwood with filmmaker Zach Dove and local blues icon John Heussenstamm.
The song’s a favorite of audiences where Lockwood has performed locally.
But beginning last month the online video started finding listeners in Croatia, India, Peru and Japan, coinciding with the video’s entrance in film festivals in Beijing, Australia, Britain and Istanbul. “I really don’t know if these have had anything to do with the video catching on; they haven’t made any picks yet as far as winners,” said Lockwood. “It seems like every day it’s being discovered in a new country,”
Lockwood, 59, a six-year Laguna Beach resident who works in financial services, started performing with a band as a youngster growing up in the Midwest. After 35 years without playing, his wife gave him a gift of guitar lessons after the death of their son, he said.
Since then, Lockwood has written 70 songs and released “Road to Ascension” in 2008, which includes “Lonely Boy,” produced with Heussenstamm.
“The inspiration for the song came to me in a dream. I actually wrote most of it while asleep and dreaming, then when I woke up the next day I finished it,” he said. “While this song is very dear to me, it is one of the first songs I wrote and I would consider some of my more recent writing to be more of a consistently higher quality.”
Nevertheless, Lockwood is gratified by the song’s popularity. “If the song raises one person’s awareness about the tragedy of this type of behavior, about how futile and unnecessary it is, then the song’s a hit in my book.”