Of the many roots musicians traveling the world, spreading the early American music tradition, St. Louis musician and singer Pokey LaFarge is the next in line to make a significant impact on music enthusiasts everywhere. His creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing rings true and fine, making him one of the most innovative of all the purists performing American roots music today. It’s wonderfully infectious, and all laid down in front of a big, big swingin’ beat. A lot of performers are content to play old material, reworking the tunes to give them new life or to stamp them with personal style. But LaFarge both achieves timelessness with his original songs and honors the legendary songwriters and musicians of songs he covers. He uses his booming voice as an instrument with an incredible range; above his parlor guitar one moment he shouts a line and the next he croons. And while his music may be a fitting soundtrack to R. Crumb’s comics, don’t dare to call it “old-timey.” Whether performing solo or with his crew of painstakingly hand-picked supporting musicians, Lafarge’s extraordinary blend of raw talent and refined, idiosyncratic charm turns reviewers into poets as they attempt to label his one-of-a-kind sound.