Diggin’: Lakota John and Kin “Crooked World Blues”

inNewson September 26, 2013

Tonya, Lakota, Papa John, Layla on the banks of the Lumber River, Pembroke, NC

Listen: Crooked World Blues

Lakota John and Kin (that’s Momma Tonya, Papa John and Sister Layla) live in Pembroke, NC. They are members of the Lumbee Indian tribe, the largest tribe East of the Mississippi. Lumbee are named after the Cypress lined Lumber, a blackwater  river that slowly meanders through North Carolina’s Coastal Plain. The river plays a central part in the lives and identity of the Lumbee.


One of the final projects former intern Raphaël Evrard worked on before heading home to France was finishing the Lakota John and Kin recording we started in 2011 when Lakota John was just 14 years old. In the 3 years that passed, Lakota’s virtuosic talent on the slide guitar blossomed into a more nuanced sound marked by his own personal flavor. Still, the magic in these recordings is the dynamic of the family. Accustomed to playing together during family time after dinners and on weekends, they have a musical connection forged through time and blood. As demonstrated by the recent Music Maker release by Wayne and Max Henderson, blood can create a musical bond that is unmistakable, inimitable and glorious.


In gathering materials for CD production we found we needed a great cover photo.  I had a call with Tonya and she said she had a dream of the Kin standing on the banks of the Lumber River. Dreams and visions are not to be ignored, so Tim and I scheduled a trip down to Pembroke for a session. These photos are among our top picks from the session. In Crooked World Blues, a flawless performance, you can hear the musical bond I described earlier. Everyone who meets and hears Lakota John and Kin instantly loves them. You will too after hearing this track.


[nggallery id=80]

Leave a Comment

What is worth keeping is worth passing on,

help preserve American Culture.

Donate Today