Lots of twang in the section this week!
Pokey LaFarge and The South City Three will bring their throwback take on Americana music to the Domino Room next week to help KPOV celebrate its fifth birthday. I chatted with Pokey about how he became such an anachronism.
LaFarge’s work tramples old-time genre boundaries, bouncing around from folk to blues to swing to jazz, but always rooted in American tradition, and always rooted in what he calls the “purity” and “honesty” of acoustic music.
It’s a style that attracted LaFarge in his teens, which is when he figured out just how much he prefers the sound of America’s past over the sound of its present.
“When I realized that rock and pop and all this other kind of stuff sucked, right around the same time, I started listening to the blues … and I started digging my way back from there,” he said. “I started getting into bluegrass, which got me into old-time fiddle music, which in turn got me back into old country-blues and jazz and ragtime and Western swing and all that kind of stuff.”
With two genuine country rebels — Merle Haggard and Hank Williams III — in town, I rambled a bit about the genre’s long, proud history of outlaw behavior, and whether it’s been killed and buried for good by the modern music industry.
In the shadow of today’s airbrushed and Auto-Tuned Nashville, it can be easy to forget that country music has a long, proud tradition of outlaw behavior.
Modern country stars are as handled as politicians, every tooth polished and straight, every opinion run through focus groups, (almost) every song crafted by a team of professional tunesmiths.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
You can read the whole piece by clicking here.
Elsewhere in this week’s music section, I want to draw special attention to the big, locally focused ARTISpHERE happening tonight at Old Stone Church, and the Empty Space Orchestra / Finn Riggins / Hosannas show happening tonight at Rise Up Warehouse.
Beyond that, we also have the Conjugal Visitors kicking off the summer season at Angeline’s Bakery in Sisters, Betty and the Boy at portello winecafe, Stephanie Schneiderman back at McMenamins Old St. Francis School and The Voodoo Fix at Silver Moon. As usual, there are lots of other options in The Bulletin’s complete music listing.