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Pokey Lafarge

Pokey Lafarge

Al Scorch

Sat, February 23, 2013

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Castle Theatre

Bloomington, IL

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 18 and over

Note: 21+ Full Venue Access / Unaccompanied Minors: Balcony Only

Pokey Lafarge
Pokey Lafarge
Genre: Americana, early jazz, country blues
Similar to: Valerie June, Hillstomp, Dan Reeder

Pokey LaFarge is a musician, songwriter, bandleader, entertainer, innovator and preservationist, whose well-rounded 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, all while writing songs that ring true and fine in both spirit and sound. His music transcends the confines of genre, continually challenging the notion that tradition-bearers fail to push musical boundaries. Cleverly striding between numerous forms of traditional American music, Pokey has crafted a genre all his own, marked in its accessible ingenuity. Rather than merely conjuring up half-forgotten imagery of days past, Pokey is a lyrical storyteller, the plot delivered smoothly through his dynamic vocals. One moment he shouts a line and the next he croons above his archtop guitar, backed by an often ornate, acoustic instrumentation that allows for nothing less than masterful instrumental skill. Both on stage and off, Pokey’s effortless wit and approachable demeanor 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 appeal and infallible charisma welcomes his audiences with open arms. 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 an Independent Music Award for Riverboat Soul and continued praise from NPR Music and Billboard Magazine, among other reputable critics. His latest full-length album, co-produced with Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show, was released June 4 under Third Man Records. Pokey LaFarge is on a mission, encouraging audiences 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.”
Al Scorch
Al Scorch
Grafting literate, character-driven song craft and Mid-American roots with a post-punk DIY attitude, Chicago-based songwriter, performer and instrumentalist Al Scorch charts a new musical topography with a five-string banjo.

In his new full-length CD release, Tired Ghostly Town, Scorch delivers jubilant anthems and poignant reflections in 10 songs populated with a cast of vibrant characters. The protagonist wishing for a pair of gold cuff links to accompany his beau to her daddy's funeral; the deserting Civil War soldier headed across destroyed cotton fields beckoning to "Miss Rosie"; or a hearse driver bound for the cemetery accompanied by a sonorous clarinet. Scorch doesn't just introduce these denizens, he inhabits them.

"It's all composites – myself and people I see on the street," he professes. "As I watch people walk by, I can stare at each of them and come up with a story of who they are, where they're going, why their jacket is that color, why the stain is on the front of it, why they're holding that stack of papers in front of the retirement home. I think my characters come from creating this feeling I want to get across when I write songs."

Both solo and with a close family of musicians, Al Scorch is very much a live performer at clubs, festivals, and other venues, He embraces the independence of house concerts –a loose circuit that extends from New Orleans to Portland; Missoula to San Francisco and all points in between. "Flyers go up, phone calls get made, a Facebook page appears and everyone brings their own beer. But beyond that, it's not promoted in newspapers because to have music in your house and pass the hat is illegal! I've been touring this scene for eight years and it is expanding with more and more houses and spaces: store fronts, radical bookstores and lofts."

Self-described as a "fourth generation Chicagoan, born and bred," Al recalls that his Missouri-born mother played banjo and had one in the house, while his dad played piano and guitar. "My dad showed me a few things on guitar," says Al. "When I heard Dolly Parton and Pete Seeger's records, I thought the banjo was pretty cool." The sounds of his hometown began with the Irish and Eastern European music transported to the new world. "The WLS Barn Dance was a radio show that predated the Opry," he notes. "Chicago has music from Appalachian immigrants and jazz musicians from New Orleans and Memphis. A legacy exists, so if you want to take lessons from a 68 year old jazz drummer who played with Ella Fitzgerald you can."

Creating songs for Tired Ghostly Town, Al woodshedded in a Georgia farmhouse, jogging in the morning, drinking copious cups of coffee and working for up to eight hours a day. "Songs and ideas float in the air past your mental eye until you're struck with a feeling that is summed up in one phrase," he says of his writing process. "It's been said before, but sometimes a song can write itself in 20 minutes."

As a student of musical history, Al Scorch appreciates tradition, but he is not bound by it. "Sitting in on an old time session, the musicianship is incredible, but it's almost like there's no mystery to it. I don't want to know, that's what gives me chills and makes the eyes well up –It sounds like an Irish ghost on a gypsy pirate ship drinking beer with a cowboy – what the hell is it? Where is it coming from?"

The same might be said of Al Scorch and a traditional instrument brought to these shores by African slaves. With sepia glimpses of the recent past, the high definition immediacy of the present and kaleidoscopic visions for the future, Tired Ghostly Town reveals a young man with an old soul and something new to say.
Venue Information:
The Castle Theatre
209 E. Washington St.
Bloomington, IL, 61701
http://www.thecastletheatre.com/