WUIS' Bedrock 66 Live!
February 24, 2012, 8 p.m.
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From St. Louis, Missouri, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three's creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing rings true and fine, making them among the most innovative of all the purists performing American roots music today. It’s wonderfully infectious, and all laid down in front of a big, big swingin’ beat.
A lot of performers are content to play old material, reworking the tunes to give them new life or to stamp them with personal style. But this group, led by guitar-plucking troubadour Pokey LaFarge, achieves timelessness with original songs while honoring the legendary artists of yesterday through covered tunes. Accompanied by The South City Three, Pokey uses his booming voice as an instrument with an incredible range; one moment he shouts a line and the next he croons above his parlor guitar. Pokey’s extraordinary blend of raw talent and refined, idiosyncratic charm turns reviewers into poets as they attempt to label his one-of-a-kind sound.
Born in the heartland of America, Pokey has been hitching through the countryside and whisking off to faraway lands ever since he was a teenager. He is a perpetual traveler, constantly in motion while drawing musical inspiration from 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. Sharing that inspiration has been a mission of sorts for Pokey, making sure that people remember there’s more to music than just the sounds that manufactured pop stars are making today. Pokey is out to help listeners and live audiences rediscover an earlier time in America by bringing forth his special mix of music, featuring such acoustic instruments as the parlor guitar, guitjo, double bass, kazoo and harmonica. His sounds are truly original and modern, yet Pokey’s influences are apparent, as tinges of Blind Boy Fuller, Bob Wills and Jimmie Rodgers are easily recognizable.
In 2009, Pokey began working with The South City Three, a trio made up of fellow St. Louis musicians Joey Glynn, Adam Hoskins and Ryan Koenig. With Glynn swinging and walking the upright bass, Hoskins displaying great versatility on his archtop guitar and Koenig getting down on harmonica, washboard and snare drum, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three found a sweet spot. In 2009, Pokey and his crew hit the road and began to tour at a mind-spinning pace, quickly winning over crowds throughout America and Europe, making waves at such high profile festivals such as the Big Chill Festival (U.K.), the Tonder Festival (Denmark) and, most notably, the 2010 Newport Folk Music Festival (USA), where SPIN magazine called Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three “Best Discovery” and Bob Boilen of NPR called their performance “simply charming.”
The group has continued to received praise from NPR Music, having the honor of recording for the popular NPR video series Tiny Desk Concert, all while playing nearly 200 live shows across the country, including a second appearance at the renowned Newport Folk Festival and a first time performance at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee.
Don't worry if you missed some of the previous shows... WUIS airs the best of Bedrock 66 Live Saturdays at 7 p.m.!
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