POKEY LaFARGE, “Something in the Water,” Rounder. 12 tracks.
Pokey LaFarge isn’t a bluegrass artist and there’s nothing on his latest album, “Something in the Water,” that remotely sounds like bluegrass.
But the St. Louis-based musician has appeared at several bluegrass festivals, including the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival.
And he has a large fan base among younger bluegrass fans.
So, his seventh album since 2006 is definitely worth taking note of.
Fans of HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” might have heard LaFarge without realizing who he was.
In 2013, he performed the jazz standard “Lovesick Blues” with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks as background music in the series.
“Something in the Water,” which hits the market on April 7, features early jazz, ragtime, country blues, Western swing and a few styles that haven’t yet been named.
LaFarge wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 12 tracks on the album.
The other two are the blues standards, “When Did You Leave Heaven” and “All Night Long.”
Musicians featured include members of LaFarge’s band along with members of NRBQ, the Fat Babies, the Modern Sounds and the Western Elstons playing electric guitar, drums, organs, pianos and horns.
Definitely instruments you wouldn’t hear on a bluegrass album.
But the lyrics could fit into some progressive bluegrass songs.
“She got a broke down El Camino in the front yard up on blocks,” LaFarge sings in the title track.
“Where have all the good girls gone?,” he asks in “Far Away.” “Was there ever one?”
In “Bad Girl,” LaFarge warns, “You can try your best to behave/But I know you have the devil inside of you.”
And in “Knocking The Dust Off The Rust Belt Tonight,” he sings, “Take a jazz band with a country beat/It’s Midwestern Swing for your dancin’ feet/We’re gonna knock the dust off the rust belt tonight.”
Good album by a man who’s doing it his way.
Can’t find it in stores? You can pre-order it at www.PokeyLaFarge.net.