We head back to WOMAD to talk to Pokey Lafarge and we also check out the newest retro chick on the block - Tami Neilson.
Pokey LaFarge is a musician, songwriter, bandleader, entertainer, innovator and preservationist, whose arsenal of talents has placed him at the forefront of American music. Over the last decade, Pokey has won the hearts of music lovers across the globe with his creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing. After signing with Jack White’s Third Man Records to release his fifth full-length album (Pokey LaFarge) in 2013, he performed as a musical guest on The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show on Ireland’s RTÉ One network. Pokey’s rendition of “Lovesick Blues” with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, featured on an episode of Boardwalk Empire, was selected for inclusion on the series’ official soundtrack (Vol. 2). Additionally, Pokey appeared in Disney’s The Lone Ranger (both on screen and on the original score), was featured on A Prairie Home Companion and NPR’s World Cafe, and recorded a song for ATO Records’ Divided & United: Songs of the Civil War, produced by Randall Poster.
2014 looks to be Pokey’s most momentous year yet; by spring, Pokey will have brought his music to five continents, with international tours in India, Australia and New Zealand. In the past year, Pokey’s tour trail (consisting of over 250 shows) included appearances at clubs and festivals across the USA and Canada as well as two extensive tours in Europe. Pokey has played with the likes of Jack White, The Raconteurs, Wanda Jackson, Old Crow Medicine Show, and most recently, Carolina Chocolate Drops. As an opening act on Jack White’s Blunderbuss tour, he delighted sold out crowds at Red Rocks Amphitheater and Radio City Music Hall, among other notable venues in North America. Pokey is currently touring with a five-piece backing band, including his original bandmates (Ryan Koenig on harmonica, washboard and snare, Adam Hoskins on guitar and Joey Glynn on upright bass), in addition to Chloe Feoranzo on clarinet and TJ Muller on cornet.
At only 30 years old, Pokey’s career has not slowed in momentum since it began with his first release Marmalade (2007). Shortly followed by Beat, Move and Shake (2008) and Riverboat Soul (2010), Pokey quickly graduated from breakthrough artist to leading musical figure, receiving two consecutive Independent Music Awards for Best Americana Album (Riverboat Soul and Middle of Everywhere).Pokey’s music transcends the confines of genre, continually challenging the notion that tradition-bearers fail to push musical boundaries. Rather than merely conjuring up half-forgotten imagery of days past, Pokey is a lyrical storyteller, the plot delivered smoothly through his dynamic vocals. Both on stage and off, his effortless wit never fails to charm audiences, giving way to a live music experience that manages to be grandiose and unassuming all at once. Born in the heartland of America and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Pokey’s Midwestern charisma welcomes his audiences with open arms.
Pokey LaFarge is on a mission, encouraging fans worldwide to think differently about what it means to celebrate musical traditions. Simply put, Pokey explains, “It’s not retro music. It’s American music that never died.”
With a soulful voice straight from the golden age of country and rockabilly music, Tami Neilson has been described as "A red-hot honky-tonker, somewhere between Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson with perhaps just a little bit of Peggy Lee sophistication.” (-Nick Bollinger, NZ National Radio)
Singing her heart out along endless roads and stages, from her days as a young girl in the touring Neilson Family band opening for the likes of Johnny Cash to her full blossoming as a formidable talent in her own right, Tami Neilson has won the Tui Award for each of her past three albums.
In the past year Tami has performed at numerous international festivals in New Zealand, Australia and North America, headlined 5 national tours, working with “Grand Ole Hayride” and “The Gunslingers Ball”, opened for both Emmylou Harris at the Vector Arena and Pokey LaFarge and was chosen to pay tribute at Dave Dobbyn’s induction into the Hall of Fame in a stunning performance at the prestigious Silver Scrolls.
Now, with her explosive new album “Dynamite!” she’s bound to turn even more heads.
Moving easily through blues driven numbers like “Walk (Back to Your Arms)” and “Dynamite”, Tami shows us new facets in the jewel, her soulful side with “Cry Over You” and her maple-sweetness in “Honey Girl”, before she kicks it up with rockin’ numbers like “Woo-Hoo” and “Come Over”. Those familiar with her previous work will be happy to hear the country lament “You Lie” and her bell-like “Texas”, keeping one foot squarely planted in the country corner.
A couple of duets appear on the album: young Marlon Williams leaves us breathless while matching Tami word for word in the fun and frantic “Woo Hoo” , Ben Woolley croons with heartbreak of a spurned suitor in “Whiskey and Kisses”, while fellow hay-rider Delaney Davidson’s worries are kissed away in “Running to You”.
Steel playing wizard Red McKelvie came out of retirement to play on the songs after he heard the demos. The album also features Dave Khan on fiddle, mandolin and guitar, bass and backing vocals. Joe MacCallum on drums & percussion and Ben Woolley (The Unfaithful Ways) on bass and backing vocals.
And check this out - a whole magazine about Vintage - Glory Days!