wed 26/06/2019

CD: Pokey LaFarge - Something in the Water | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Pokey LaFarge - Something in the Water

CD: Pokey LaFarge - Something in the Water

The Americana roots phenomenon digs enjoyably into his Midwestern roots

LaFarge enjoys a typical meal of Dixie chicken and Bourbon whisky

At gigs by Irish blues-rockers The Strypes or Dutch swing fanatic Cara Emerald, what’s shocking is how old and staid their audience often is. Mums and dads – even grannies and granddads – turn out to hear younger voices express dynamic rehashes of their own generation’s music.

Pokey LaFarge is, arguably, even more retro yet he draws a wider audience, establishing a youthful fanbase for his folk-Americana revivalism. Supported along the way by that doyen of rockin’ roots music, Jack White, LaFarge has been around for a decade but his seventh album is a real showcase of his Midwestern roots. Something in the Water revels in his multi-instrumental talents and clearly lays out his heartfelt love of this music, also boasting on-point collaborations with fellow Midwestern musicians NRBQ, The Fat Babies, Modern Sounds and The Western Elstons.

The album elegantly journeys through sounds that summon dancing the Sardana in the streets of Barcelona, smoky speakeasies, and summers of lost yearning. Songs such as “Wanna Be Your Man” and  “All Night Long” have a shimmying ragtime beat while “Underground” conjures images of voodoo men in New Orleans beckoning with their Dixieland sounds. LaFarge’s rendition of Chicago blues pioneer Big Bill Broonzy’s “When Did You Leave Heaven” acquires the same melancholia he gracefully brings to “Far Away” and “Cairo, Illinois”, while there’s a seductive sultriness to the exotic melody of “Goodbye, Barcelona”.

These dozen songs ring out with the enjoyment of their making, resulting in an infectious, uplifting quality. The additional musicians fill out the complex sound, giving modern life to a music deeply rooted in American history. LaFarge sums it up perfectly on the final song, the striking, epigrammatic “Knockin’ the Dust of the Rust Belt Tonight”:  “Take a jazz band with a country beat, it’s Midwestern Swing for your dancin’ feet.”  It closes an album that, at its best, evokes sunshine on a Sunday afternoon.

 Overleaf: Watch the video for "Something in the Water"

The album elegantly journeys through sounds that summon dancing the Sardana in the streets of Barcelona, smoky speakeasies, and summers of lost yearning

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Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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