Pokey LaFarge

After crisscrossing the nation for the last half-decade looking for a home, Pokey LaFarge found himself in Mid-Coast Maine. Upon arriving, the Illinois-born singer/songwriter/actor pursued a major life change, working 12-hour days on a local farm—a turn of events that catalyzed an extraordinary burst of creativity and redefined his sense of purpose as an artist. On his new album Rhumba Country, LaFarge reveals his newly heightened devotion to making music that channels pure joy. “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 gifts are meant to be shared,” he says. Reclaiming his voice, LaFarge has recorded his boldest album yet. 

Rhumba Country was initially shaped from material that emerged while LaFarge was deep in work on the farm. “I’d be pushing a plow or scattering seeds, and the songs would just come to me,” he recalls. “It was tremendously inspirational and made me realize that apart from singing, farming is perhaps the oldest human art form.” But as he moved forward with his songwriting, something felt undeniably amiss. LaFarge then spoke with fellow Midwestern transplant Elliot Bergman (Wild Belle), who suggested he return to city life in Los Angeles for a season so that the two musicians could work together—a collaboration that soon brought the rhumba to LaFarge’s country. As he immersed himself in the album’s creation, LaFarge began dreaming up a kaleidoscopic sound informed by his love of music from far-ranging eras and corners of the globe, including mambo, tropicália, rocksteady, and mid-century American rock-and-roll. Co-produced along with Chris Seefried and Bergman and recorded in L.A., the resulting Rhumba Country is an invitation to come together to celebrate life and love. “The songs that naturally come to me are upbeat and make you wanna dance or at least bop 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.” 

LaFarge’s boundless curiosity for music from other cultures played a vital part in shaping the album’s instantly captivating sound. “Listening to a lot of music from around the world helped simplify my approach,” he notes, naming Brazilian singer/composer Jorge Ben among his key inspirations on Rhumba Country. “When you scale back the chord progressions and get a good rhythm going, the musicians have more freedom to play anything or nothing at all. There’s so much space everywhere, and as a singer, it allows me to be that lead instrument and weave in and out however I want.” At the same time, LaFarge brought a more intense and focused rigor to his songwriting process. “I need to trust in what feels good to me, but I also have to ask myself, ‘Is the message coming through? Am I stimulating thought in a way that might shift someone’s perspective? Am I being honest in telling my story, and am I doing it in love?’” he says. 

Reflecting on the origins of Rhumba Country, LaFarge points to one of the most crucial revelations he experienced while farming: a newfound understanding of the uniquely human potential to be “conduits of continuous creation.” To that end, his effort to provide listeners with “medicine for the soul” has led LaFarge toward a deeper level of dedication when it comes to nurturing his own spirit. “You have to live the life you’re singing in your songs—no matter what you’re going through,” he says. “Everything will come out in your music whether you want it to or not. I’ve realized that the more I can pursue goodness and live in peace, the more I can make the music I was put here to make.” And by living with intention and fully connecting with his truest purpose, LaFarge might finally be ready to lay his head in a place he calls home.

Upcoming Events

More Info for Pokey LaFarge - FREE EVENT!
Colonial Oak Music Park
Friday Sep 13, 2024

Pokey LaFarge - FREE EVENT!

Buy Tickets More Info