Matt Lockhart introduces new band at pre-Thanksgiving show at Schooners

Newport News guitarist and filmmaker Matt Lockhart will introduce an expanded version of his band Wednesday, Nov. 23 at Schooners.

His six-piece group now features a pair of backing singers along with keyboards, bass and drums. The jazzy guitarist, who years ago was a member of the Freedom Funk Ensemble, said he patterned his new group after the Jerry Garcia Band, the Grateful Dead leader's side project that featured keyboardist Melvin Seals.

The sound of the updated Matt Lockhart Band will range from improvisational jam-band style workouts to more soulful, gospel-tinged tunes.

All the songs are Lockhart originals, he said.

"For years, when I was in college, I played and toured with bands that were Grateful Dead-Phish oriented," said Lockhart, who runs the video production business Seven Cities Media. "This band has some of those elements. There are lengthy jams and solos, but also catchy and soulful vocals ... I'll probably make an album in a couple of months and probably play some festivals."

Tunes range from the jazz-funk fusion of "Let it Rain" to the reggae groove of "We Are the People," and "Revolution" which stirs some hard rock into the mix.

"I've never been a fan of being pigeonholed into one genre," Lockhart said. "I like mixing it up."

He was looking forward to Wednesday's debut. "It'll probably be a little raw, but it will be good," Lockhart said. Pre-Thanksgiving shows at the bar near Christopher Newport University have become something of a tradition for the guitarist. "I'm sort of from that neighborhood and everybody comes home for the holiday, so it's become a meeting place."

Music will start about 8 p.m. Cover will be $5. Schooners is located at 12368 Warwick Blvd. in Newport News. Call 757-599-4144.

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