Antonia Lamb might be taking her banjo-powered medicine show on the road, or jamming at home with various pals. She might be co-anchoring on local radio or advising astrological clients. She’s inclined to speak truth laced with wacky humor. “I try to stay real,” she says. “My goal is to have fun and live as if it mattered.”
She feels blessed by her life within a remarkable matrix of musicians, song-writers & performers on the creative edge of folk, rock and blues. Through their influence she has developed a unique style on banjo & guitar which supports her songwriting talents and powerful stage presence.
She was born on Manhattan Island during World War Two, the first child of an engineer & an artist who were then blacklisted during the McCarthy era. Antonia Lamb discovered beatniks, science fiction, music, theater, dance and a passion for equal rights while growing up in Texas.
She danced with the Houston Symphony as part of the Houston Foundation for Ballet, was an apprentice at the Alley Theater, and became involved with the civil rights movement.
At age 16, she moved back to New York. After starring in an off-Broadway play, she wrote science-fiction, sold four novels, discovered that she was psychic, became an astrologer & an underground newspaper columnist and fell into the Greenwich Village music scene. On the night JFK was shot, Jim (Roger) McGuinn gave Antonia her first banjo lesson & joint song-writing experience. (He Was a Friend of Mine appeared on the Byrds’ second album, Turn, Turn, Turn.)
In 1967 she & her two very young children moved to Hollywood. She continued writing, became an “astrologer to the stars” and met folk legend Bob Gibson. He traded banjo lessons for a horoscope and became a lifelong friend & fan, giving her the Vega longneck banjo (formerly Johnny Horton’s) which she still plays. Soon after, Antonia Lamb began performing at L.A. area folk clubs. In 1971 her song Morning & An Oldsmobile appeared on Judy Mayhan’s legendary Decca album.
Nudged by ex-Byrd Gene Clark, she moved to Mendocino, CA, part of a musical/tribal migration of friends including Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Gene Parsons, the Cat Mother & Grateful Dead families, the Bob Gibson clan, and many others.
In 1978 she made her first album, Easy to Love Her on her own independent label. Amazing Tracks came out in 1996. Gamma was released in 2006, followed by Lucky’s House in 2008. Her last CD, Banjo Grandma was released in December 2010 and her next, Carry Me Away, will be released this autumn.
Today, when she’s not writing songs, playing her banjo or entertaining audiences, Antonia lives on the Mendocino Coast of Northern California, sees clients regularly in East Caspar and twice a month in the Garberville / Redway area, where she also appears on the radio.