Following the spring release of his seventh studio album, Something in the Water, roots-music hero Pokey LaFarge has spent most of 2015 on the road, taking his blend of rockabilly, Western swing, jump blues and honky-tonk to audiences from Amsterdam to Bonnaroo. LaFarge’s impeccable showmanship and slick traditionalism harkens back to a much earlier period of American music, making him a tailored fit for one of country music’s oldest institutions: the Grand Ole Opry.
LaFarge and his band made their Grand Ole Opry debut this past August, performing a three-song set that included a stirring rendition of their rave-up “Actin’ a Fool,” complete with a show-stopping harmonica solo from LaFarge’s sideman Ryan Koenig.
One of 12 songs from LaFarge’s latest record, “Actin’ a Fool” received an adoring reception during the St. Louis-based singer’s August 25th Opry performance. With its old-world blues melody, rockabilly beat and carnival-barker vocals, the tune may have fared just as well during a mid-Fifties Opry broadcast, although LaFarge himself would likely disagree with such a characterization.
“People want to put labels on things. They say ‘retro’ because they want to write me off,” he told Rolling Stone Country earlier this year. “I never want my music to be categorized. Music shouldn’t be categorized, except as good or not.”