Timothy LaRoque Wants to Push Miami's Folk Music Scene Forward | Miami New Times


Timothy LaRoque Doesn't Want Folk Music Stuck in the Past

Though in his early twenties, Timothy LaRoqua has a deep and abiding love for folk music and has sought to be active in the local scene.
Timothy LaRoque can't help but stick out in South Florida's older-skewing folk music scene.
Timothy LaRoque can't help but stick out in South Florida's older-skewing folk music scene. Photo by Matt Faciana
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As a folk music fanatic, Timothy LaRoque is used to being the youngest person in the room. The South Broward High School grad has a deep and abiding love for the genre and has sought to be active in the local folk scene.

"I often bring down the median age by ten years," he tells New Times jokingly.

As a child growing up in Hollywood, LaRoque's father introduced him to the Beatles, with the quartet from Liverpool going on to become his favorite band. "At 9, I started playing guitar. My dad taught me Beatles songs," he says. "Then I got the books with the guitar tabs and started watching YouTube to learn all these other songs."

Now in his early twenties, LaRoque can play pretty much any Beatles song ever recorded on command. "You need to know a wide array of songs if you want to make a living gigging," he says. He probably has about 500 songs committed to memory, including much of the catalogues of his favorite singer-songwriters, Jim Croce and Paul Simon.

Still, LaRoque is especially proud of the 30 original songs he wrote himself, five of which make up his debut solo EP, Stuck in the Past.

"I love good songwriting. It's why I often connect more with older musicians and music fans. Songwriting is no longer really the most important aspect of making music," he adds, listing Ben Howard as the exception to the rule. "He's probably my biggest modern influence. He's kind of electronic now, but for a while, it was just him and his guitar."

At 36, English singer-songwriter Ben Howard still has more than a decade on LaRoque, who can't help but stick out in South Florida's older-skewing folk music scene.
Not that his age has held him back. He's been invited into the Folk Club of South Florida fold and will headline its monthly concert series on August 5 at Luna Star Cafe in North Miami.

"I'm at Luna Star all the time. I perform there quite often," LaRoque says. "Lou Dominguez, who hosts the night, reached out to me to play. I'd been to their shows before. It's a monthly showcase of all kinds of folk music."

For this show, it'll just be LaRoque and his guitar, though he has also been known to play with his three-piece band, the Def Cats.

"I try to put on a show for the spirit, for the soul. I interact with the crowd. I'm very friendly and not afraid to take on people's requests," he explains.

For Saturday's show, he'll play a wide selection of his originals and covers of some of his favorite artists, including Bob Dylan and Bob Seger, as well as the Beatles, Simon, and Croce.

"A lot of performing music for me is a tribute to the artists I love," he says. "I want people to love the songs like I love them. I believe in the spirit of the songs, and I try to keep them as true to the recordings as possible. I'm not an Elvis impersonator, but I care about making it sound faithful to the original." 

Beyond that, LaRoque has a busy calendar for the rest of the year.

"The Def Cats recorded our first single, 'The Light,'" he adds. "It's going to be on all streaming platforms, but I'd like to press it as a 45. I'm a big fan of vinyl. I used to sleep outside of Radio-Active Records the night before Record Store Day so I could get the first pick."

Timothy LaRoque. 8 p.m. Saturday, August 5, at Luna Star Cafe, 775 NE 125th St., North Miami; 305-799-7123; lunastarcafe.com. Tickets cost $10.
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