Photo: Omer Shwartz
Every man has his own style of blues, and that is exactly what Lazer Lloyd is looking for. The international blues artist who became an observant Jew and made aliyah knows that everyone has something they want to get off their chest – and he enjoys being the emissary who helps relieve the pressure.
For now, he's releasing a video clip for his first single – exclusively for Ynet readers.
Lloyd, 45, is currently a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, was born in Connecticut to a family whose connection to religion was incidental at best. Shortly after his Bar Mitzvah he launched a musical career that included playing in ill-lit pubs, to his parents' great chagrin. Yet they were overjoyed when he received a Masters degree in music.
The road to fame seemed to take a clear path. Lloyd was swiftly identified as a guitar virtuoso, was signed on for a recording deal at Atlantic Records, and played music with Milt Hinton, Randy Baker, Gene Bertuccini, Johnny Winter and Prince.
It was at the height of his career that he accidentally met Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. One performance, Llloyd said that is all he needed to find what he was looking for his whole life.
'I didn't know what religious was until I met him," Lloyd noted. "I knew there was Yom Kippur and Passover, but I had never met a religious person in my life. I played music with him and he liked what he heard. After the show he told me I need to play with him in Israel and gave me a few CDs.
"As a result of that meeting I came to Israel, but he passed away a short time later, before we had a chance to perform together."
For years Lloyd's heart was in the Middle East but his livelihood was in the west. He lived in Israel but travelled several times a year for concert tours around the world.
"In the US, blues music is very popular," Lloyd explained. "I didn't think there was much of a market for it in Israel until a few years ago when Snowy White from Pink Floyd came to Israel and I was his warm up act at the Barbie club. The media were out in spades and I got a very warm response."
Lloyd became close to religion when he was 28-years-old by which point he was already completely in a different religion's thrall – he has often declared that Blues is a kind of religion – music that is a prayer – and becoming an observant Jew helped upgrade the musical creation.
With six albums behind him, Lloyd is currently working on three new albums simultaneously. Two are supposed to come out on Passover – an electric guitar album, an acoustic album, and one more – different from everything he has done so far – set to drop on Lag Ba'Omer: A very personal album of melodies, inspired by Carlebach's Jewish music.
"I often play for non-Jewish tourists who are searching for good music. They can connect to my Jewish blues. Throughout the world, Jews who aren’t connected and don't know Hebrew find it hard to connect with music because the language barrier gets in the way. But this melody is something everyone can feel connected with."