Today, we are going to celebrate "Throwback Thursday” by bringing you a ’20s/’30s soundalike from artist Pokey LaFarge. He was born as Andrew Heissler, but picked up the nickname from his mother who would call him “Pokey” to hurry up. The Midwest native released his most recent album “Something in the Water” on Rounder Records, and we are spotlighting the title track from that album for this week’s Synch Song of the Week.
It could be that the artist grew up with a deep love for history and American literature that makes him sound so genuine, but regardless, we truly can’t deny his realistic approach to this genre of music. His dusty, vintage sound seems like it could be coming straight out of a vintage gramophone. There’s absolutely nothing electric or insincere that powers LaFarge’s art; it is pure and true to its roots which completely sets it apart.
The authenticity of the LaFarge is perhaps what caught the ear of Jack White, who signed the artist to his label Third Man Records for his previously released self-titled album. After the immense amount of positive reviews that began to put this young old-timer on the map, Rounder Records caught wind and is now the new home for Pokey LaFarge. We personally can’t think of a better fit than this bluesy, grass-roots label, or a better debut album than “Something in the Water”.
We love Pokey LaFarge because he is just downright fun. The kind of fun that involves swing dancing with bob-cut, curly haired women, and men dressed in dapper clothing. The artist attributes his style to the way that he was raised in the Midwest: “I’m born and raised in the Midwest, and my family’s been here for generations. This is where I’m from and how I think, and that’s reflected in the music I make”. On his latest album, he also recruited some of the best players from Midwest, and talks about the camaraderie that was such a huge asset to producing the sounds that the artist had envisioned for his album.
There is however, still a lot of depth in LaFarge’s lyrics. He can tell a vivid story while producing a toe-tapping beat, which is why we think he’s a perfect synch song candidate. We love the wry sense of humor wrapped in the lyrics and the “can’t live with them, can’t live without them” ideal throughout. He wants to emphasize the idea that love isn’t always a perfectly beautiful fairy tale, but rather something messy and complicated that no matter what, will always put you in an even stronger place with your lover.
His music screams for a commercial, perhaps set in a quirky Wes Anderson style, as is his album art. Music Supervisors, filmmakers, and marketing agencies alike can play off of his music in many forms. It can be taken literally, or used simply to take the setting back a few decades. Either way, we are hooked and we hope that our readers agree on the incredible potential of this extremely talented artist.
As Pokey LaFarge himself sums up his sound: “Americans love to reinvent themselves, but you can never really get away from the place that you come from”.
Go ahead and give it a listen below, and check out Pokey’s personal page to find out more information and listen to the entire album!