Pokey LaFarge has found ‘a new definition of pleasant exhaustion’ after past year’s successes | St. Louis Public Radio

Pokey LaFarge has found ‘a new definition of pleasant exhaustion’ after past year’s successes

Nov 20, 2015

Pokey LaFarge.
Credit Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this year, local singer-songwriter legend Pokey LaFarge’s sixth studio album, “Something in the Water,” dropped. He’s been going ever since. Recently completing a U.S. and a European tour across three continents, he’s barely had a chance to catch his breath.

“I think I have moved into a new definition of pleasant exhaustion,” LaFarge said on Friday’s “Cityscape.” “I just got in at 3:30 this morning from Nashville.”

Luckily, he’ll have a chance to take a break in 2016, after performing a New Year’s Eve show at the Pageant with other local acts, the River Kittens and the Hooten Hollers. He said he’ll only be performing 50 shows in 2016, about a third to a quarter of his normal tour load, in order to take some time to write and record his next album.

Featuring drums on every song and new sorts of harmonies, LaFarge said that “Something in the Water” was a step in the right direction toward where he wanted to see the next album. While he couldn’t reveal much of what will be included in the next album, it is sure to stay well outside the lines of traditional music labels.

"I see myself more as a composer, more of a songwriter, and that means I could write any kind of song and should be allowed to perform any kind of song because it will be me, and because I evolve, things are going to change very much."

LaFarge’s music style has been called everything from blues and swing to American folk to “retro,” whatever that means.

“The reason why I try to shy away from labels is because it is the interpretation that people get from those labels—it is a certain lack of understanding or exposure to those genres … it could cause someone to write the music off entirely based on one genre,” LaFarge said. “I see myself more as a composer, more of a songwriter, and that means I could write any kind of song and should be allowed to perform any kind of song because it will be me, and because I evolve, things are going to change very much.”

One of the biggest steps in LaFarge’s evolution this year was a chance to perform on the Grand Ole Opry’s stage in Nashville for the first time in his career.

“That was one that did make the family proud,” LaFarge said. “I was honored to be on that stage and be the guy from the family that got to do the Opry. My grandma, she’s not really with it anymore, unfortunately, but that’s what she always wanted me to do, to be on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.”

Here are three songs to take you out:

Something in the Water

Wanna Be Your Man

Goodbye, Barcelona

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer, and Kelly Moffitt. The show is sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.