When: Sun., Jan. 3, 8 p.m. 2016
A throwback singer from Saint Louis who looks like he might’ve pumped your gas while you were passing through Racine in 1954, Pokey LaFarge casually flits between rockabilly, ragtime, trad jazz, early R&B, and honky-tonk balladry like there’s little more than a footstep between each of them. There’s nothing remotely contemporary about his sound, which sounds more beautiful and archaic than ever on the recent Something in the Water (Rounder), produced by veteran Chicago roots fixture Jimmy Sutton, with contributions from locals Paul Asaro, Alex Hall, Scott Ligon, Beau Sample, and Casey McDonough. You might recognize a certain postmodern sensibility on his records, but with the appealing insouciance of his voice—which reminds me a good bit of Nashville’s Paul Burch—LaFarge frequently makes me forget his whole get-up. He’ll be performing by his lonesome tonight, a good test of whether he has enough charisma to hold his own without his fellow travelers behind him.