I was lucky to have seen Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three perform at the 2011 Vancouver Folk Festival and am happy to report that they’re back to perform in concert for one night only, September 1. They not only qualified as one of the major new discoveries of 2011′s Folk Fest, but have become one of the breakout stars on the current folk/roots music circuit.
They’ve also been on tour for most of the year, performing at some of the world’s premiere festivals, opening for Jack White and garnering acclaim everywhere they go.
Pokey and company perform a dynamic mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing. The combination rings true and fine, making them among the most innovative of American roots music artists today. It’s wonderfully infectious music, all laid down in front of a big swingin’ beat.
Pokey LaFarge was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and took to the open roads at a young age, hitching rides and writing boxcar ballads that spun tales of a boy finding his way through this big wide-open country.
He submerged himself in the most American of music and embraced himself in the beauty of the land while picking and strumming with down-home groups everywhere he went, falling in with traveling caravans of vaudeville poets and hell-raising bluegrass pickers alike.
Pokey’s influence is deeply rooted in the heroes and misfits of yesterday; the long lost troubadours of country, the kings of swamp-drenched ragtime, and all the legendary bluesmen of the Cotton Kingdom. The result is a boiling pot of American cultures; a wonderfully fresh and quirky kind of pop music that combines delta-meets-Appalachia songwriting with a galvanizing groove. Along with a refreshing take on tradition, Pokey brings his irresistible charm and genuinely romantic outlook to the stage.
“Like a man born – very luckily for us – in the wrong era, Pokey (along with his trio of astoundingly accomplished pals) gives the 21st Century a sparkling history lesson. His gumbo of 1930s ragtime, jazz. blues, country, and swing is intoxicating… Catching them live only enhances the pleasure.”
- Dave Esson, Sunday Express
Opening the evening is Portland, Oregon’s harmonic folk trio, The Alialujah Choir, featuring Adam Shearer and Alia Farah of Weiland and Adam Selzer of Norfolk & Western and M. Ward.
All three band mates contribute to the at times haunting and other times warm harmonies that give the band their trademark sound. The Alialujah Choir is about something bigger: the instrumental arrangements, the pairing of voices, the poetry, and the roots of folk music.
Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three with The Alialujah Choir
Date: September 1, 8 pm
Venue: Rio Theatre, 1660 East Broadway, Vancouver
Tickets: Available online, by phoning 604.602.9798, or at Highlife Records on Commercial Drive