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Middle of Everywhere

4.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 19, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Channeling American roots, country blues, and jazz traditions of the early 20th century, Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three's newest recording is surely a most inspired 21st-century creation. Middle of Everywhere represents the latest addition to a growing eminence in contemporary American roots music, and LaFarge is definitely paving the way. He and his crew don't just pay homage to their artistic forbears here - they commandeer their legacies and create something new - and with Midwestern country blues mashed with Western swing, sweet harmony vocals, and hints of New Orleans style horns and lap steel throughout, the title Middle of Everywhere is particularly fitting. LaFarge's honest, approachable songwriting chops shine through on such tracks as Head to Toe and Ain't the Same, with The South City Three all the while providing an impeccable up-tempo driving rhythm. LaFarge has always had the grace, charm, and flair of the musicians of long ago, but Middle of Everywhere shows just how much of a musical force he is, and how much command he possesses as he steps out with accordant confidence.

Review

[Pokey LaFarge] studies the past and makes it his own... his voice is strong and warm... The sentiment in [Feels So Good] pretty well sums up what I love about this band. --Bob Boilen, NPR
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 19, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Free Dirt Records
  • ASIN: B0055I19SO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,156 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
This album makes life a little better. This is for you if you like singer/songwriters with talent to burn. Witty, clever lyrics combined with blazingly-talented guitar work come together for a super fun album. Every song here is a marvel with my favorites being "So Long Honeybee, Goodbye," "Weedwacker Rag" and "Ain't the Same." Pokey & the South City Three are a national treasure and this album is a gift.
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Hard to pigeon hole this band because they are both original and also reminiscent of genres we love. It occurred to me tonight that they remind a bit of Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappeli and that great hot swing but they also remind of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and then again of some really great old blues performers and then again..... well, they're just a great band! They're not copying and mimicking; they're original and yet their music is a "nod" to other music (some of which as mentioned) we've long loved. We purchased this CD and some others and like every single one of them, not a bad word to say about any of the choices, and highly recommend them to others.

We saw Pokey LaFarge and his band perform last night at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston and wow, they were outstanding! They had just come back from a European tour, appeared recently on David Letterman's show and were making their first U.S. tour stop in Charleston, Illinois and the sold-out/full house at EIU loved them! We recently bought several of their CDs here at Amazon, including this one, in advance of the concert and really like their music a lot. It is only enhanced by seeing them live because each individual band member and the band as a unit has great stage presence. Go see them if you have the chance and buy their CDs, no matter what. Great band, great music. REALLY talented musicians and a lot of fun to see in person but also much pleasure in the listening to their CDs. The band has two new members playing wind and brass instruments, and they are both outstanding musicians to join a band of outstanding musicians! At the concert, there were also vinyl records of various sizes, including 78 rpm, as well as CDs.
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Pokey is one of the best creators of new songs in an old style. He is steeped in jug band, delta and old country blues so that the songs sound initially familiar, but it is all new, from the subject to the tunes to the delivery. This new release is all that I could hope for as a long-time follower of Pokey; and it's even better since he has added a group of backup musicians that fit like a glove to his style. Keep it coming!
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My friend/band mate introduced me to Pokey Lafarge's music and I've loved it since the first time I heard it. This is great stuff! My band actually does cover versions of two Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three songs and were working on a third. If you like Old Tyme music done with modern recording then this is for you. I only wish i could find more artists doing this type of stuff.
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I bought this album and the "Pokey LaFarge" album at the same time (see my review of "Pokey LaFarge too). I really like this album because it sounds like music from the 1930s and 1940s, but the amazing thing is that LaFarge wrote all of these songs. How do you describe this music? Jug band? Acoustic up-tempo blues? Swing? Country porch stomp/swing/blues? All of these apply. The majority of the songs are up-tempo, featuring solely acoustic guitars, upright bass and harmonica. Banjo joins in on some of the tunes with horns and lap steel making cameo appearances too. (The "Pokey LaFarge" album moves more towards swing and enhances the music with more horns and lap steel, which, I think, makes it a better album). While some songs could be described as pure acoustic blues, most of them lean towards swing because they are played at a fast tempo..most notably So Long Honeybee, Goodbye and Drinkin' Whiskey Tonight. Some of the songs remind me of a quartet version of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, so if you like the Zippers, I think you will like this album. LaFarge's vocals sound right out of the Prohibition Era and he knows how to play his vocals to the music. He plays the part too, usually dressed in a suit and tie, fedora and spats. So gather some of your friends on your porch and give a listen, 'cause we "Drinkin' Whiskey Tonight!" At a time when most popular music sounds very processed, this is a nod to old time fun.
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What a refreshing new talent. His band, the South City Three are real professionals and make Pokey's style come alive. Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three are Dixieland, Soul, Blues and modern Jazz all rolled into one incredible mix of talent. Just sit back and listen to the words and sounds that are going to make you smile. This music is truly refreshing and new with roots from the past. You're going to hear more from this group in the future.
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I stumbled on Pokey Lafarge through Pandora. It reminds me of Jimmy Rodgers meets Squirrel Nut Zippers. Great sound! Talented musicians and showmen. I've since seen their videos on YouTube and Jules Holland. This is a really good mix. Riverboat Soul is another good choice, if you like old-timey music with a kick.
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