From his days as a nomadic busker to his current status as one of old-time music’s most respected guardians, roots revivalist Pokey LaFarge has remained a soulful and authentic live performer. LaFarge’s bluesy sound combines Americana, Western swing, Appalachian folk, and more, and his knowledge of and respect for these historic genres are on full display at his toe-tapping live shows. His swinging sets evoke the sounds of yesteryear with throwback instruments like kazoo, washboard, and lap steel guitar, treating fans to an unforgettable concert experience that’s the next best thing to a riverboat trip down the Mississippi.
Pokey LaFarge, aka Andrew Heissler, was born in Bloomington, IL, where he earned the nickname “Pokey” from his mother who would frequently implore him to hurry. He inherited both his love of American history and his penchant for fingerpicking instruments from his grandfathers, one of whom gave him his first banjo and guitar. After discovering the blues in his teens, he traded in his banjo for a mandolin and hitchhiked across the country to the West Coast. There, he released two solo albums as Pokey LaFarge in the late ‘00s before forming a band and releasing 2010’s Riverboat Soul. The album was a critical hit, earning an Independent Music Award for Best Americana Album and drawing the group out for extensive touring. Their next album, 2011’s Middle of Everywhere, won the same award the following year, cementing LaFarge’s place as one of Americana’s most promising young talents. Since then the group has toured with Jack White, released a 2013 self-titled album, and wowed ticket buyers with their period-perfect sound at major festivals around the world.