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ALBUM REVIEW: Pokey LaFarge – Manic Revelations

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Pokey LaFarge has always been tagged as an authentic revivalist, from his music to the way he dresses. He’s still cutting a fine sartorial look but on Manic Revelations he’s sounding more contemporary than ever.

LaFarge skill is seamlessly melding the cornerstones of roots music – from country and blues to soul, New Orleans jazz and western swing. Now he’s pointedly addressing modern topics such as social unrest and protest through to personal and emotional unrest. The latter is dealt with in raw terms on Wellington, an upbeat but serious tale where he sings of searching out substances and getting arrested. Who knows if it is a true tale but that is what he does so well, create characters and stories that, coupled with an authentic and rousing musicality, ingratiates him to the listener.

LaFarge brings a soul style to the fore on Must Be a Reason and Bad Dreams, in the same manner as Justin Townes Earle in recent years, with piano and brass layering sweet melodies over the swinging rhythm section. Elsewhere there is Southern voodoo blues on Mother Nature and Going to the Country and sweet optimism on closer I Will Never Change. LaFarge’s songwriting continues to excel on this beautifully recorded album.

Chris Familton

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