Pure and greasy, raw, nasty, sexy, down-home Texas-style blues: there are possibly three or four authentic blues performers in San Diego, and Lafayette Falkquay is at the top of the stack. He’s a product of the same Austin, Texas, nightclubs that sheltered Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others, and that’s what Falkquay brings to the blues conversation here in San Diego.
I first caught wind of Falkquay when he fronted the Leasebreakers, an improbable band of contrasts that nonetheless delivered great blues music. They featured a tall bass player who dressed as if he was on loan from the Beach Boys: white pants, Hawaiian shirt. Then Lafayette, immaculate in purple mohair jumpsuit with purple cowboy hat, purple boots, and purple guitar. Even his amplifier was covered in purple fabric. He walked the bar tops back then, sure-footed as hell and firing notes from that purple Stratocaster straight into the hearts of his listening audiences.
Lafayette Falkquay at Adams Avenue Street Fair, 2013
The thing about Falkquay today is that, 20 years older, he is 20 years better. Time has only sharpened his reflexes. His guitar whispers or it screams, and it is always played using that down-home finger-style of his. That he can get the bright and hard attack he gets on guitar without use of a pick defies physics, in a way. But a true fan of the blues arts might argue that Falkquay’s voice, honeyed over the years of straining into the upper reaches of soul, is the key to his authenticity. For in these past two decades of club-hopping he has gotten to that rare place occupied by the Robert Crays and the Tommy Castros of the blues idiom. I think that maybe the distinctive vibrato the three share was perfected years ago by late greats from blues generations prior, but no matter. That magic is alive and well wherever Falkquay happens to be.
Lafayette Falkquay: Wednesday, August 23, Prohibition Lounge, 548 Fifth Ave, 9 p.m, no cover