Photo by Jack Hirschorn
When Robert Bock was singing to himself at work one day, one of his co-workers commented, “If you’re gonna change keys that often, you might wanna call a locksmith.”
Bock does not need a locksmith though. He already is one. Both he and his wife, Krissy Bock, make up the Bayside Americana duo, The Locksmiths. The two met each other when a mutual friend wanted to start a band with them. While that idea did not work out, Robert and Krissy stayed connected and started playing together.
Depending on their instrumentation, The Locksmiths have a couple of different sounds. When it is just the two of them, their music is folky, like Simon and Garfunkel or The Civil Wars. When they are playing electric instruments, augmented by drums, bass and fiddle, the band sounds more like alternative country rock, similar to Ryan Adams.
The group plays a mixture of covers and originals, a good way for them to earn some cash, get a crowd invested and get their own tunes out there.
“I always wanted to perform originals but it’s easier to reach an audience with songs that are familiar to them, especially if you’re trying to make money playing gigs,” Robert said.
A couple of the covers The Locksmiths have performed are “I’ve Just Seen A Face” by The Beatles and “Down By The Water” by The Decemberists.
“The covers we choose usually have a special meaning to us and our relationship,” Krissy said. “The originals are all Robert. He likes to tell stories that leave the listener thinking and feeling something new and different.”
Some of The Locksmiths’ original numbers are “Nashville” and “Deluge/Wait.” On the former, gentle acoustic guitar chords create a musical bed for Robert’s evocative, storytelling lyrics, which are supported by beautiful harmonies with Krissy. The latter came together for that initial project that led to Robert and Krissy’s meeting.
“It allowed me to step out of a comfort zone and try something new,” Robert said. “When that project dissolved I took the music and added lyrics. The words were a response to how I felt at the time, dealing with difficult emotions.”
Bayside and the surrounding communities have long been supportive of The Locksmiths, according to Robert. One night, the duo played an open mic at The Attic, a former Douglaston venue. The person who ran it, Stavros Theoharis, ended up becoming a good friend of theirs.
“He introduced us to a lot of other Queens-based musicians and recommended other venues for gigs. He even played with the band for a little while,” Robert said. “Once we started to establish a fan base in Queens, we felt we had more credibility going to bigger venues in Manhattan, like The Bitter End and Arlene’s Grocery.”
The Locksmiths are lining up concerts for next year and are recording an EP in the spring. To keep up with the band’s latest news, visit thelocksmithsband.com or www.facebook.com/thelocksmithsband.
– Joe Marvilli