Pokey LaFarge is a musician, songwriter, bandleader, entertainer, innovator and preservationist, whose well-rounded arsenal of talents has placed him at the forefront of American music. Over the last decade, Pokey has won the hearts of music lovers across the globe with his creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing, all while writing songs that ring true and fine in both spirit and sound. His music transcends the confines of genre, continually challenging the notion that tradition-bearers fail to push musical boundaries. Cleverly striding between numerous forms of traditional American music, Pokey has crafted a genre all his own, marked in its accessible ingenuity.
Rather than merely conjuring up half-forgotten imagery of days past, Pokey is a lyrical storyteller, the plot delivered smoothly through his dynamic vocals. One moment he shouts a line and the next he croons above his archtop guitar, backed by an often ornate, acoustic instrumentation that allows for nothing less than masterful instrumental skill. Both on stage and off, Pokey’s effortless wit and approachable demeanor never fails to charm audiences, giving way to a live music experience that manages to be grandiose and unassuming all at once. Born in the heartland of America and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Pokey’s Midwestern appeal and infallible charisma welcomes his audiences with open arms.
In the past year alone, he signed with Jack White’s Third Man Records, was honored with a second consecutive Best Americana Album win by the Independent Music Awards for Middle of Everywhere and recorded alongside Jack White on his album Blunderbuss. Pokey has quickly made his way into major film and television productions; he joined Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks for a track featured on an episode and subsequent soundtrack (Vol. 2) of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, appeared in Disney’s The Lone Ranger (both on screen and on the original score) and performed on The Late Show with David Letterman this July.
As an opening act for Jack White’s Blunderbuss tour, Pokey delighted sold out crowds at Red Rocks Amphitheater and Radio City Music Hall, among other prominent venues in America and Canada. In addition to opening for Mr. White, Pokey has played with the likes of The Raconteurs, Wanda Jackson, and most recently at the historic Ryman Auditorium with Old Crow Medicine Show. His 2013 tour trail (consisting of nearly 200 shows) has included appearances at clubs and festivals scattered across America and Canada, as well as performances at several of the largest and most renowned summer music festivals in Europe. Pokey is currently touring with a five-piece backing band, including his original bandmates (Ryan Koenig on harmonica, washboard and snare, Adam Hoskins on guitar and Joey Glynn on upright bass), in addition to Chloe Feoranzo on clarinet and TJ Muller on cornet.
At only 30 years old, Pokey’s career has not slowed in momentum since it began with his first release Marmalade (2007). Shortly followed by Beat, Move and Shake (2008) and Riverboat Soul (2010), Pokey quickly graduated from breakthrough artist to leading musical figure, receiving an Independent Music Award for Riverboat Soul and continued praise from NPR Music and Billboard Magazine, among other reputable critics. His latest full-length album, co-produced with Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show, was released June 4 under Third Man Records. Pokey LaFarge is on a mission, encouraging audiences worldwide to think differently about what it means to celebrate musical traditions. Simply put, Pokey explains, “It’s not retro music. It’s American music that never died.”