All posts tagged: Pokey LaFarge

Favorite roots music albums of 2015

I’m not going to pretend that this is a “best of” list for roots music in 2015.  With so many things thrown on my plate this year, I  haven’t had the time to sample as widely as I would like.  (Come to think of it, the last time I felt comfortable enough to publish a “best of list” was 2013!) But I’m very comfortable with a favorites list that just says, “Hey, I like these and I hope you will too.” So with that caveat, let’s see what’s made the cut. The Steeldrivers:  The Muscle Shoals Recordings – I’ve loved this Nashville-based bluegrass band for years, even as they have moved through personnel changes that included their lead singer and main songwriter.  (More on that later.)  The Muscle Shoals Recordings is really the first album where Gary Nichols stepped out on his own as the lead voice for The Steeldrivers – no longer in Chris Stapelton’s shadow. Singer-songwriter Peter Cooper describes it this way: “Right there, at two minutes and ten seconds into the first …

Observations From the Road (The “Central Time” Edition)

Claire and I were driving through the heart of Central Minnesota today when the Pokey LaFarge paean to Middle America – Central Time – popped up on the iPhone playlist. Yet another omen! The Missouri is my right arm, the Ohio is my left But I’m livin’ on the Mississippi River where I like life the best I don’t mind the west coast, and I don’t mind the east coast Oh, baby, but I ain’t gonna live on no coast. I’m just a plain ole Midwestern boy, Getting by on Central time So thanks to Pokey’s reminder, here are a few (more) observations from the road – in the Central Time edition. Some oddities really are worth seeing – We went an hour out of our way today to see the largest ball of twine rolled by one person, and it was SO worth it.   As the great post on the Roadside America blog puts it, “One runs across more than a few balls on the obsession landscape…But special tribute must be paid to the Mother of the moss gathering …

Pokey the Preservationist

Last Friday I was sitting outside on a beautiful summer day at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival, listening to Pokey LaFarge. Yesterday evening, I was skimming some YouTube videos to learn more about Pokey’s music when I came across a TedX talk entitled Pokey LaFarge:  Evolving Through Preservation. Whoa!  Could it be that Pokey is not only a great musician with a hot band, but also a preservationist? Well yes, that’s exactly what he is. Take a listen to this TedX talk from St. Louis – and after the music history lesson you’ll hear Pokey’s thoughts on how young people are taking old buildings and using them for new uses – just as they are doing with music and fashion. They are claiming these places and making them relevant today.  Just as we’ve been preaching in my day job at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. And as Pokey reminds us…he’s only 30 years old! Who knew that the next generation preservationist could come in the form of a hip traditionalist musician who happens …

Pokey laps the field at Day I of Red Wing II

The second annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival in spectacular Natural Chimneys Park began on Friday afternoon under a beautiful summer sky.  The promise of the inaugural festival – hosted by the Steel Wheels – brought out an even larger crowd this year.  And for the most part the music didn’t disappoint. My friend Oakley Pearson and I arrived in time to catch the full set of Furnace Mountain, a band from the Berryville, Virginia, area.  Comprised of Aimee Curl on bass and vocals, Danny Knicely on mandolin and fiddle, Dave Van Deventer on fiddle, and Morgan Morrison on bouzouki, guitar and vocals, Furnace Mountain is a first-rate roots music band.  Knicely is an especially inventive mandolin player, and he displayed some great chops and songwriting skills in today’s set. Caravan of Thieves was a band I wasn’t familiar with, but they grew on me very quickly.  Their web site has a catchy – yet pretty accurate – description of this group:: Driving gypsy jazz rhythms, acoustic guitars, upright bass and violin lay the foundation for …