Tuesday, 20 March 2012

INTRODUCING: Pokey LaFarge And The South City Three

A band who I may have first heard on Jools Holland a while back, but unsure if it was indeed the same group. One thing for sure is I did hear them earlier today on Radcliffe And Maconie's excellent show on BBC 6Music. Here are Pokey LaFarge And The South City Three... 

Pokey LaFarge, is an American roots musician and songwriter. In 2009 LaFarge founded the group Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three when a group of three musicians joined him: Joey Glynn (bass), Adam Hoskins (guitar) and Ryan Koenig (Harmonica, washboard, and snare). The group is based in St. Louis, Missouri. 


Pokey LaFarge was born in Bloomington, Illinois. He later moved to St. Louis, Missouri. The nickname “Pokey” was coined by his mother, who would scold him to hurry when he was a child.
Pokey took an interest in history and literature during his childhood, and was greatly influenced by his grandfathers. One was a member of the St. Louis Banjo Club, who gave Pokey his first guitar and tenor banjo. The other, an amateur historian, taught Pokey about the American Civil War and World War II.
Pokey always wanted to be a writer, and had a keen interest in American literature. He enjoyed the writings of John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, and Jack Kerouac. As a teenager, Pokey combined his appreciation for history and writing with his new discovery of blues music.
During his early teens while living in Normal, Illinois, Pokey first heard blues in a local pizza parlor run by a man named Juice who played artists like Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. He soon discovered an appreciation for older blues artists, like Skip James, Robert Wilkins, and Sleepy John Estes. After hearing Bill Monroe at age 16, Pokey traded the guitar his grandfather had given him for a mandolin.
After graduating from high school in 2001, Pokey hitchhiked to the West Coast at age 17, where he earned a living playing music on the sidewalks, streets and pedestrian malls. He continued hitchhiking through the United States, and met Ryan Koenig and Joey Glynn of the St. Louis band The Vultures while he was playing on a street in Asheville, North Carolina. Adam Hoskins joined The Vultures to form the South City Three. The band joined Pokey in 2009.

Pokey self-released his first record Marmalade in 2006; the same year he toured as mandolin player with The Hackensaw Boys. His second solo album, “Beat, Move & Shake,” was released in 2008 by Big Muddy Records. In 2009, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three formed with Adam Hoskins (guitar), Ryan Koenig (guitar, washboard, snare drum) and Joey Glynn (double bass). They began touring across the United States, the U.K., and the Netherlands.
The group released their first album, “Riverboat Soul” in 2010 with Free Dirt Records. The album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee over two days in 2009 through Georg Neumann microphones once used by John Hartford and Norman Blake. "Riverboat Soul" won the Independent Music Award for best Americana album.
In 2011, the group released “Chittlin’ Cookin’ Time in Cheatham County” with Third Man Records, produced by Jack White, and their second album “Middle of Everywhere” with Free Dirt Records.
Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three have appeared at the Big Chill Festival (U.K.), the T√łnder Festival (Denmark), and the Newport Music Festival (USA).
The group was featured by NPR on the Tiny Desk Concert series in 2011.
Pokey wrote a song for the soundtrack of “Brick By Chance and Fortune,” a documentary directed by friend of the band Bill Streeter, released in 2011.
Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three also opened for The Raconteurs at Ryman Auditorium on September 15, 2011.
The group is touring in the United States and in Europe where it will play successively in the Netherlands, Great Britain and Ireland before returning to North America where it will run in Canada.
On New Years Eve 2011 the band appeared on the UK BBC2 Jools Holland's Hootenanny television show.
His acoustic music uses the guitar, guitjo, bass, kazoo, tenor banjo, washboard, snare drum, cornet, trombone, piano, lap steel guitar, fiddle, upright bass, and harmonica.

His repertoire consists of a mix of Americana, early jazz, ragtime for string instruments, country blues, Western swing, Vaudeville, and Appalachain folk.
"American music is the tops: People respond to it all over the world because it's expressive and powerful," Pokey told the Ismthus Daily Page in 2011.
Musicians that have influenced him include Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, Milton Brown and the Musical Brownies, Emmett Miller, and Willie Dixon.

2011–Middle of everywhere / Label: Free Dirt Records (Europe: Continental Records)
2011–Chittlin' Cookin' Time in Cheatham County / Label: Third Man Records
2010–Riverboat Soul / Label: Free Dirt Records
2009-The White Belt (with Joe Manning) / Label: Karate Body Records
2009-Face a Frowning World: An E.C. Ball Memorial Album (Track: "Poor Old Country Lad")
2008–Beat, Move, and Shake / Label: Big Muddy Records
2006–Marmalade (self-released)

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