I think it’s time to introduce the world to Lloyd. I met Lloyd last spring back when I was still able to overcome my fear of asking to take someone’s photo. I was making my way around Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park and was lured by the sound of him playing the Banjo. He had a lovely, gentle quality to him that was absolutely conveyed in his music, and I still can’t think of a better setting to listen to a solo banjo player.
Lloyd grew up in Appalachia, and I loved that he included a social aspect of his roots when I asked about where he was from. We only spent a few moments together, but he was such a sweet soul. He had a quiet confidence about him that was very endearing.
When he isn’t serenading songbirds at Stanley Park he plays at a retirement home near where he lives.
Lloyd’s Musical Journey
When did you know you were going to pursue this passion and what inspires you to keep going?
For a long time now but especially since leaving Appalachia, I have discovered a love for all of its traditional music. Banjo and fiddle, dulcimer, old-time, bluegrass, etc. I learned to play the spoons first, an easy way to jump into any country jam session. Then I started up with banjo about three years ago. Honestly I'd say that from the moment I left the mountains I was on a road to get to the banjo. And I keep going because its an active, living connection to my old home. The spirit and essence of our totally unique mountains saturates our music and you really feel it.
What are the biggest challenges have you have faced?
Mostly a lack of natural ability with music. I really had to strive to achieve my current "mediocre on a good day" status. Also there is not much of a presence for old-time and bluegrass around Vancouver so sharing the music the way its supposed to be shared is difficult.
What has this journey taught you so far?
Quite a bit about music in general but also plenty of other incidental discoveries along the way. For example, the different perspectives different cultures and levels of exposure have about the banjo and the songs played on it. Canadians who have watched Deliverance or been exposed to other stupid hillbilly stereotypes will react one way, Chinese tourists on their first time in a foreign country another way, East Indians find some commonalities with their traditional music, etc etc. The variety in a place like Vancouver is fascinating.
What do you hope to bring to the world through music?
I suppose if we get right down to the root of it, I'm hoping to play a part in preserving and sharing the old ways of things. Before the internet, before the commercialization of everything, before we started tearing our society apart, we used to know and live the way people had for centuries, and the old music is like a window to those simpler and more grounded times.