Monday, May 9, 2011

It's A Sin reviewed by Rick Davis

It's A Sin
Cousin Harley
Little Pig Records
13 Tracks

Cousin Harley a.k.a. Paul Pigat can play a Gretsch with the same conviction as Brian Setzer in any given genre. Playing bebop, rockabilly, jazz, blues, western swing, West Texas surf music, and juke joint jump on any of his albums makes a person wonder why his name isn't a modern guitar legend. Hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia, Pigat is one of most versatile guitar players in the Northern Hemisphere!
He has an extensive music education, attending the Claude Watson School of the Arts and graduating from the University of Toronto in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in music theory and composition. He then taught at the Eli Kassner Guitar Academy in Toronto while continuing to explore live performance work with various bands. He moved to Vancouver, B.C., in 1994, where he continued to build a reputation as an extremely talented and versatile guitarist.
He has done songs from jazz standards like 1933 song "Moonglow" by Will Hudson and Irving Mills to the western swing classic by Adolph Hofner "I'll Keep My Old Guitar." Paul started playing at the age of 11 and had steady gigs at 12 in Toronto. His dedication to live performance, recording, and studying music has allowed him to develop into a accomplished guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and instructor. He developed his style from guitar legends like Les Paul, Merle Travis, Link Wray and T-Bone Walker. Pigat has recorded and toured with artists like Neko Case, Michael Kaeshammer, and Carolyn Mark and has shared the stage with Taj Mahal, Mae Moore, Lee Aaron, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Joshua Redman, Big Sandy and His Flyrite Boys, Aaron Neville, Jim Byrnes, Ndidi Onukwulu, Zubot & Dawson, and many more.
Three of his previous CDs include Hillbilly Madness,  Jukin, and Boxcar Campfire. After listening to his latest studio recording It's A Sin, you can understand why the rocking hillbilly trio Cousin Harley is considered western Canada's premier rockabilly and roots band. The trio, Cousin Harley, consists of Paul Pigat on vocals, guitar, and steel guitar, Keith Picot on bass, and  Jesse Cahill on drums. All but two of the tunes are penned by Pigat.  He opens It's A Sin with "Conductor Man" running the fretboard of his Gretch which in my estimation is the best rockabilly number on the CD. He follows with a juke joint jump blues number "She's Coming Back," displaying the versatility of Paul Pigat as guitar virtuoso. For the remainder of the CD, he has written a rockabilly or jump blues instrumental number on every other cut starting with "Beaver Fever" and continuing with "The Ballad of El Swartho" (with steel guitar solo),  "Hoss' Hoedown," "Swingin' Like A Mofo," "Spooks," and ending the collection with "Spaghetti No Sauce." The title track "Its A Sin" has some guitar influence from the legend Link Wray. "2 Bottles Of Booze" (A. Mclaughlin/P. Pigat) is hard-driving number featuring the gritty vocals of Pigat once again. The western swing classic by Adolph Hofner, "I'll Keep My Old Guitar," is an up-tempo version done in a Paul Pigat style. The last two numbers featuring Pigat on vocals, written by Pigat, is "Red Hair Baby," a jump blues/jazz style number and rockabilly tune "Sweet Little Angel" with Paul once again on steel guitar solos.

This CD has an endless number of guitar styles that will captivate you as you listen an over and over again. You will be astonished at the speed of Paul Pigat's fingers as he runs the fret board of his Gretch guitar!

Reviewed by Rick Davis

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