Pokey LaFarge, Chicago Farmer – isthmus

After a decade of touring and writing songs that he says “glorified sadness because I lost sight of who I was,” LaFarge left the stage for a farm field in Maine, where he spent 12 hours a day on stage. fields worked. The lifestyle change sparked a creative outburst that resulted in his new album, Rumba land, a series of songs that showcase deception, joy, and (never heavy-handed) spirituality. John Prine-inspired Illinois singer-songwriter Cody Diekhoff, aka Chicago Farmer, opens.

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press release: Pokey LaFarge returns with Rhumba Country on May 10, 2024 via New West Records. The 10-song set was co-produced by Chris Seefried, Elliot Bergman and LaFarge and was recorded in Los Angeles, CA and Chicago, IL. On Rhumba Country he reveals his newly heightened dedication to creating music that channels pure joy. He says, “There was a time when I glorified sadness because I lost sight of who I was, but now I understand that creating and expressing joy is my gift, and that gifts are meant to be shared.” LaFarge has found his voice and recorded his most daring album yet.

After traveling the country for the past five years looking for a home, LaFarge found himself in Mid-Coast Maine. Upon his arrival, the Illinois-born singer/songwriter/actor pursued a major life change by working twelve hours a day on a local farm – a state of affairs that sparked an extraordinary burst of creativity and his sense of purpose as an artist redefined. As he immersed himself in the album’s creation, LaFarge began to conceive a kaleidoscopic sound inspired by his love of music from distant eras and corners of the world, including mambo, tropicalia, rocksteady and American rock ‘n’ roll from the mid-century. . He reduces his songs to their essence throughout the album, decorating each song with subtle details and showcasing his distinct voice and ineffable charisma.

His boundless curiosity about music from other cultures was crucial in shaping the album’s captivating sound. “Listening to a lot of music from all over the world has simplified my approach,” he notes, citing Brazilian singer/composer Jorge Ben as one of his main inspirations. “The more you listen to music from around the world, you realize that everyone has their own brand of country music,” he says. “It goes back to why I called the album Rhumba Country in the first place: it makes fun of the futility of categorizing everything into a few genres: ‘What is folk music?’ What is land or soul?’ I have always crossed those boundaries and found it much more exciting to create my own genre.”

Brooklyn Vegan premiered the video for the album’s lead single, “Sister Andre.” LaFarge said, “Sister André is a love song for those who are lonely and looking to love and be loved. An encouragement to never give up on the patient’s efforts. It could come any moment! In this case, the encouragement comes from Sister André, who inspired this song on the day of her death, after being 118 years old.”

Pokey LaFarge also announced his first North American and UK tour dates in support of Rhumba Country. The trek kicks off on May 3 in Woodstock, NY at Levon Helm’s Studio and stops at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, The Bluebird in Denver, CO, the legendary The Troubadour in Los Angeles and more. See tour dates below, with many more to be announced.

In addition to his critically acclaimed music career, Pokey LaFarge is also an actor. He appeared in 2013 in The Lone Ranger (starring Johnny Depp), The Devil All The Time (starring Tom Holland and produced by Randall Poster & Jake Gyllenhaal), and played Hank Snow on CMT’s Sun Records series. He also stars in the upcoming O’Dessa (currently in post-production and starring Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink).

Rhumba Country is an invitation to come together to celebrate life and love. “The songs that come naturally to me are upbeat and make you want to dance or at least bob your head – they’re all very colorful,” says LaFarge. “I used to think of my music in dark blue, but now I see it in technicolor.”

Pokey LaFarge’s Rhumba Country will be available on digital platforms, on compact disc and standard black vinyl. Limited Gold vinyl and compact disc editions, both signed by Pokey LaFarge, will be available through independent retailers and are NOW available for pre-order through NEW WEST RECORDS.