DORA – Positive things are happening in Walker County these days, according to Cody Lockhart of Dora, pointing to downtown Jasper, the City Lights Dream Center in Dora, and the revitalization of …
DORA – Positive things are happening in Walker County these days, according to Cody Lockhart of Dora, pointing to downtown Jasper, the City Lights Dream Center in Dora, and the revitalization of Main Street in Sumiton.
Lockhart, 33, wanted to do his part to help improve the image here in Walker County, so he launched a YouTube Channel that tells the stories and shares the music of local musicians.
The video channel is picking up momentum with over 200 subscribers and growing each week. The segments are getting hundreds of views.
Some of the interviews he’s done have been moving.
“People told me that some of the stories made them cry,” he said, amazed that something he made could have that kind of impact on someone.
Lockhart was born into a musical family. Santa brought him a set of drums when he was 3. A few years later he began focusing on the craft. He was the drummer in the family band. His father played keyboards, and his brother played guitar. Later, when he was old enough, Lockhart started playing in bands.
Music had been a life-long dream, but after starting a family, his priorities changed. He started thinking of other things that would be enjoyable.
Lockhart wanted to be able to help people. “Music is my wheelhouse. I know a lot of musicians, and many of them are from Walker County,” he said.
It’s a running joke that outsiders think that Walker County breeds musicians, according to Lockhart. He decided he could continue utilizing his creative side with YouTube channel for local musicians. To him, it seemed like a natural fit.
Lockhart researched what he needed to make his idea a reality. He was familiar with microphones and other sound-related equipment because they are used in his work as a drummer. But when it came to photography and videography, Lockhart said, he didn’t have a clue.
Since he had never used a professional camera, this research took time, according to Lockhart. He picked the brains of some of his friends to figure out the best equipment for what he wanted to do.
He then bought some equipment and built a small studio in his garage. Like most garages, Lockhart’s contained bicycles, tool chests, and other normal garage items. He cleared one corner and built a set complete with diffused lights, chairs, stools, and other props for recording his interviews.
Lockhart shot his first two YouTube segments in early November and aired his first show the week of Thanksgiving.
During these video sessions, he interviewed musicians and allowed them to tell their stories. His goal was to provide them with some quality video and also have content that the viewers would enjoy as well.
His set is perfect for these sessions most of the times, but since the garage isn’t heated or cooled, the weather is a factor. A few weeks ago, Lockhart had a scheduled interview one evening with Anthony Sellers, but the temperatures dipped into the low 20s. The garage was like an icebox.
He used a propane heater to warm the garage during the session, but it was too loud, according to Lockhart.
“I fired up the heater and warmed the place up and then cut it off to video Anthony singing a song,” he said. “By the end of the song, it was so cold that you could see his breath,” Lockhart said.
He struggled with an appropriate name that captured the right vibe for the channel. Several of his musical friends brainstormed with him for ideas.
The Dirty Burlap Sessions and the Wooden Ladder Sessions, were two names that were suggested. The ladder and burlap were props in his garage studio. He considered the Ladder title because he thought he could use the ladder as a metaphor for musicians climbing the ladder to success.
During the commute to his day job as a laboratory professional at Lab Corp, he came up with 64 Sessions which would suit the theme of his new project.
“I liked the idea of highlighting 64 because that is the designation for Walker County,” he said.
Sharing these stories is important to Lockhart. He hopes that other towns that have bad reputations can do things to help change that perception.
“Even on an individual level, we can do things that can help turn a bad situation around,” he said.
His goal is to have a new segment out each Monday, with plans to interview as many musicians in Walker County as possible during the coming year.
The feedback on the program has been local, but he expects a broader reach in the coming year because of his connections in Birmingham and Nashville.
So far, Lockhart has done very little promotion. His project is spreading by word of mouth.
“I’ve done some Facebook and Instagram promotion, but I’m a one-man operation, so my time is limited,” he said
Producing 64 Sessions has been a learning experience for Lockhart. Learning how to shoot and edit video has been valuable, but that’s not all he’s learned.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned is time management,” Lockhart said. He has a wife, two children, a full-time day job, a part-time job playing drums on weekends, and he’s also building a new house. Learning how to balance all these things has been a game changer, according to Lockhart.
Lockhart still loves playing music. He picks up gigs on weekends with bands. “I would never say that playing music was getting old. I appreciate what I’ve gotten from that experience, but my priorities have changed as I got older,” he said.
Lockhart lives in Dora with his wife Ashleigh, their daughter Annleigh Cate, and son Easton.
One can find the YouTube channel by searching for Cody Lockhart 64 Sessions.