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For Pokey LaFarge, it's not just a matter of luck

Great Scott Boston, Boston, July 21, 2013

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Other recent concert reviews
Pokey LaFarge is a throw back in many ways. For starters, it's his outwards appearance of dressing a bit on the formal side for a concert in a suit.

And then there's the music, an old school style of blues, Dixieland, rag time, jazz and country. In other words, there's quite a lot going on musically.

Yet, there is an undeniable cool factor about LaFarge. Being part of the cast of Third Man Records, the label started by Jack White, has only helped LaFarge gain a wider audience. On this night, he drew a good crowd of a few hundred in this small club, and the folks were into it.

An appearance on national TV, "The Late Show with David Letterman," earlier in the week also doubtlessly helped spread the word.

Ultimately, of course, the most important factor was whether LaFarge could translate his recent good spate of good fortune into something durable. LaFarge and his band showed that they most definitely were up to snuff.

LaFarge, a St. Louis resident, is an engaging front man, easily bonding with the audience. His vocals fortunately were mixed way high, always above the music. He could hold notes, extend the syllables (Central Time, his current single). LaFarge played a chunk of his songs from his self-titled release out last month.

LaFarge is offering a bit of a different sonic blend this time around by employing a clarinetist (Chloe Feoranzo) and cornet/trombonist (T.J. Muller) player. The pair often enlivened the songs with their Dixieland sounds in a way that LaFarge's old South City Three could not. Smart move by LaFarge because the horns made sense with the musical styles.

Let's put it this way - this is most decidedly an up-tempo brand of music. LaFarge seemingly ensure that listeners would pay attention, not only through diverse musical styles, but offering slight changes in styles from song to song, such as introducing the washboard from guitarist Adam Hoskins on Day After Day before delving into Sadie Green, an old jazz tune.

LaFarge may have enjoyed good fortune in recent weeks, but he also made sure that his success is not only a matter of luck.

(Editor's note: the writer had to leave the show after slightly more 50 minutes)