Friday, June 16

93XRT welcomes

POKEY LAFARGE

LILLIE MAE

$21 Advance, $23 Doors // Doors: 8PM / Show: 9PM // 18+

“It really feels like I’m taking a big step forward on this one,” Pokey LaFarge says of Something in the Water, his seventh album and his Rounder debut.  “While we were recording it, I kept thinking, ‘Hey, we’re really onto something here.’”

Indeed, the dozen-song set marks a new landmark in a career that’s already filled with musical highlights.  The St. Louis-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist draws from a deep well of American musical traditions to create distinctively personal music that’s timeless rather than retro, transcending the confines of genre in a manner that reflects the artist’s openhearted attitude.

Longstanding admirer Jack White added LaFarge to the roster of White’s Third Man label for the 2011 EP Chittlin’ Cookin’ Time in Cheatham County (which White produced) and the 2013 album Pokey LaFarge, as well as enlisting Pokey as opening act on the North American tour in support of White’s Blunderbuss album.  Also in 2013, Pokey was featured on the soundtrack of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, performing the jazz standard “Lovesick Blues” with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks.  2014 was LaFarge’s busiest year yet, with the hard-working artist performing on five continents, including tours in India, Australia and New Zealand as well as extensive roadwork in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, and The Netherlands.

Something in the Water finds the artist doubling down on his established creative strengths, expanding and deepening his musical reach on such new originals as the wry, rollicking title track, the swaggering ragtime workout “Wanna Be Your Man,” the infectiously jazzy “Underground,” the evocative crooner “Cairo, Illinois,” the exotic ballad “Barcelona” and the swinging album-closer “Knocking the Dust off the Rust Belt Tonight,” whose witty lyrics underline the album’s proudly Midwestern sensibility.  Also featured are fresh, buoyant takes on popular blues standards “When Did You Leave Heaven” and “All Night Long.”

The resulting album is the most powerful showcase to date for Pokey LaFarge’s peerless gifts as a songwriter, performer and entertainer.

“You try to make something that’s cool, something that’s sexy,” he observes.  “But when you come down to it, you can really only make music for yourself, and I feel like this album is the first time that I was really able to do that.  I’m 31 and I’ve been doing this for awhile, but I feel like I’m only starting to make the music that I’ve always wanted to make.  I used to put a lot of pressure on myself when I was younger, because guys like Hank Williams and Bob Dylan and Otis Redding made so much great music when they were in their 20s.  But now I feel like I no longer have that pressure, so I can just be myself.”