(Click the link above for the full interview...)
Music and politics aren't strangers.
Especially in the folk and Americana genres that Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan defined and mined with a social conscience decades ago. Skiatook native M. Lockwood Porter shares stylistic and lyrical similarities with those icons in his politically minded new album “How to Dream Again,” but he's not aiming to make music from those eras. It's an album for today, and the opening track is a searing evaluation of the American dream. The California-based musician is delivering personal, political statements that are more levelheaded and poetic than what you'd find on a friend's frustrated Facebook post about the presidential election.
"The songs aren't really about picking a team — Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal — but I'm discussing issues that people are concerned about," Porter told The Oklahoman. "Hopefully, I'm taking a relatively nuanced, honest look at what's happening in the country — whether you're talking about economics, race, the media or just the effects of everyone looking at screens 24/7. Those are issues that everyone knows are important, even if we might have different views on what they mean."
That's the sort of answer you can expect from a Yale University graduate with degrees in English and American history. Porter built “How to Dream Again” with a thoughtfulness, even as the album teeters between hungry, energetic rock numbers and somber love songs. The record mirrors a balance and maturity Porter said he developed recently.
“I'm learning how to build my life around things other than my own ambitions,” he said. “The political songs are at least partly about me grappling with my obligations to society, and the love songs are about learning how to incorporate another person into your life. So in a way, all of the songs are about growing up.”
Porter excited his home state more than 10 years ago, but the California-based artist still keeps Oklahoma close to his heart.
“I sort of feel like an expat,” he said. “My Facebook feed is full of Oklahoma politics, and I hear about it every time I talk to my dad on the phone. Like a lot of people who move far away from where they grew up, I have a really conflicted feeling about Oklahoma — I think it's an amazing place that produces some of the most down-to-earth, kind, creative and hardworking people I've ever met, but I'm also glad to have had all of the experiences I've had since moving away. I still think about moving back all the time, though. Maybe I will, one day."