The Rapidian

Pokey LaFarge swings through Grand Rapids

Pokey LaFarge, a St. Louis American roots musician, performs at The Pyramid Scheme June 18, 2017.
Pokey LaFarge

Pokey LaFarge /Nate Burrell

For more information about the show

Pyramid Scheme website:

Buy tickets online:

Pokey LaFarge's official website:


At first glance, Pokey LaFarge seems to be from another era. Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, his appearance and musical style is old-timey, and at times he sounds like he’s travelled through time from the 1940’s to the present. However, once you begin to explore his ever-expanding discography and take a closer listen, you will soon discover LaFarge is much more complex.

As a kid, LaFarge recalled, there wasn’t much music in his house, but he was always interested in the historical sides of things anyway. Ever-curious, he would go to the library and check out CDs and records to play at home. He eventually started writing his own music in his adolescence.

“That’s really what I wanted to do, was be a writer. I’m a writer, that’s what I am, and that’s what I’ll be,” he said. “There’s a lot to say, and there’s a little amount of time to do it all.”

Now nearly thirty-four years old, LaFarge has released eight albums since 2006, including his latest Manic Revelations, which was released this past May. Throughout his music you can hear hints of western swing, jazz, blues, R&B, honky-tonk, and ragtime; some songs have a contemporary twist, while others are more traditional in format and lyrics. As LaFarge explained, “Expect to not know what to say when people ask you what kind of music it is.”

It’s hard not to tap your toes or swing your hips when listening to LaFarge’s music, whether it’s a quick jazz beat or a smooth, forlorn love song. Manic Revelations is no exception, though there is something unsettling in behind the dancy tunes. LaFarge might call that “honesty."

From the very beginning of the album, echoes of social unrest, love, loss, and accosting oneself for past behaviors can be found within the ten tracks. According to LaFarge’s bio on his website, “That’s what the record’s about: confronting.”

LaFarge is kicking off his next tour in promotion of Manic Revelations this week, and will be performing at The Pyramid Scheme this Sunday, June 18th. He will be playing with a six-piece band that includes the South City Three, with whom he has played and recorded with for nearly a decade. Along with some older songs, La Farge plans on giving the audience a good taste of the new album.

“If people liked the new record, they’re gonna get it hot and piping,” he said.

Tickets are still available for this show. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Pyramid Scheme or head to their website

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