“Limiting myself to a genre has never really been my thing,” says Pokey LaFarge. “I’m most purely a rambler. I’m traveling the world all the time, and my songs have been directly influenced by my travels. You’re liable to hear something in my songs that sounds like traditional jazz; next thing you know, you might be hearing something that sounds like Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline mixed with the chanson singers of France, or a waltz mixed with cumbia, or soul mixed with swing.”
Ever since his first record, 2006’s self-released Marmalade, LaFarge has been a difficult specimen to pin down, indeed. Though he was raised on a healthy diet of blues, bluegrass, ragtime, Western swing and old-time country — and though he has consistently demonstrated a decided affinity for pre-1950s menswear — the Illinois native is by no means a throwback or a museum piece. Timelessness, and refined good taste, is LaFarge’s raison d’être, and his influences are as multi-hued and wide-ranging as the rhythms that buoy his starkly poetic songs — rhythms that are steeped in the very essence of jazz.