Something in the Water
There’s must be something in the water in St. Louis because Pokey LaFarge makes music like nobody else in modern day America, at least nobody I’ve ever come across. With a full mid-western band backing him, he stirs a brew that brings together ragtime, swing, jazz, and rockabilly, and makes it sound eerily authentic — almost disorientedly so. I feel like Owen Wilson in Midnight in Paris, waking up in a different era and just going with it. I’m in the 1920’s — not weird, I can roll with this.
I can dig the big band swing groove of “Something in the Water,” the syncopated beat and sexy bass slaps of “The Spark.” I welcome the country gospel of “Cairo, Illinois,” and the surprising flamenco ballad “Goodbye, Barcelona.” I can even roll with the playful horns and childlike falsetto chorus of “Wanna Be Your Man.” Something in the Water, 31 year old LaFarge’s 7th album (!!!) and first on Rounder Records, is the followup to his attention-getting self titled Third Man Records release, and it’s as inviting as a light summer rain after baseball practice. It sounds about as pure and traditionally American as that, too.