LaFave found a home at Chicago House, an Austin coffeehouse, and he spent the next eight years hosting open mikes there, honing his presentation skills as a solo artist. Through the latter half of the 1980s, he also worked with his band, Night Tribe, at other Austin clubs. With backing from Mark Shumate, a computer entrepreneur, LaFave was finally able to record his debut for Bohemia Beat Records
, a company Shumate founded in 1992.
LaFave released three albums for Bohemia Beat
: Austin Skyline (1993), his debut, a live recording titled as a play on Bob Dylan
's Nashville Skyline album; Highway Trance (1994), a studio album that showcased his considerable skills as a guitar picker, singer, and songwriter; and 1995's Buffalo Return to the Plains, which contained just one cover, prime inspiration Bob Dylan
's "Sweetheart Like You." LaFave counted among his other influences Jackson Browne
, Chuck Berry
, and Jerry Lee Lewis
. LaFave's grassroots approach gave him a strong foundation on which to build a successful career. The way he blended country, blues, folk, and early rock & roll, his work ethic, and his low-key rapport with fans were all factors that worked in his favor.
Trail was issued in 1999; Texoma followed in early 2001. His next two albums -- 2005's Blue Nightfall and 2007's Cimarron Manifesto -- were issued by Red House Records
. Depending on the Distance arrived in 2012, followed by The Night Tribe in 2015. In the spring of 2017 LaFave announced that he was battling a rare form of cancer, and in May of that year he succumbed to the disease at his home in Austin; he was 61 years old. ~ Richard Skelly, Rovi