Dan Blackard formed a friendship and partnership with a musician in Indiana, and they have created more than 100 songs without ever meeting each other. Here, he poses with his wife, Mary. Photo submitted

Former resident creates album with near stranger

Dan Blackard just enjoyed making his own music and uploading it to SoundCloud to share his creations — but he never thought his work would serve as the catalyst for a collaboration with a man he’s never met in person and the production of more than 100 songs.

Blackard lived in Susanville for about 23 years with his wife, Mary, and three children, Jake, Logan and Emily, who graduated from Lassen High School. Now he and his wife reside in Reno, but the foundation for the collaboration that led to the duo’s inaugural album started locally.

It all started around 2016 or early 2017 when Dan Lockhart, of Carmel, Indiana, reached out to Blackard through SoundCloud after hearing his music. Lockhart sent the former Susanville resident some music and a description of the song and asked for him to come up with some lyrics, adding vocals and guitar. Lockhart then finished the production of the song.

That format has now led to the creation of more than 100 songs — ranging from the traditional to the unique.

“I was a nervous wreck,” Blackard said when he was first asked to write lyrics. He had never done a collab before. And while coming up with lyrics, and adding guitar to the mix, can be challenging, “it’s a lot of fun and a good way to spend time,” Blackard added.
Still to this day the Dans have never met or even talked on the phone, but the pair, named Dan X2, released their first album, “4114,” read as four-one-fourteen.The album name refers to the pairs shared name with “d” being the fourth letter of the alphabet, “a” the first and “n” the fourteenth.

“It really is something I never expected,” Blackard continued. “I’ve learned tons from him.”

Blackard noted Lockhart’s dedication and skill when it comes to making songs. At one point, the two Dans were completing as much as a song a week. “He always has a new song ready,” Blackard said.

While coming up with lyrics and singing the song can sometimes be taxing, Blackard shared his interest in making songs work. “Some folks do Sodoku, this is what I do. This is my puzzle,” the musician said.

The album “4114” can be found on iTunes, and Blackard’s music can be found on his SoundCloud page, under Dan Blackard.

While the first album was only recently released, Blackard hopes the pair will have enough music for a second.