Devil in a Woodpile

Devil in a Woodpile, midjam.
Devil in a Woodpile is a old time/blues/jug/alt-country band from Chicago, Illinois. I can’t find an initial date of creation for them mainly because the band was formed in-formerly but their first album was released in 1998 so we’ll go with that. DiaW is an extremely original band. Their unique sound really can’t be found anywhere else. Totally acoustic and playing classic instruments from a century ago, indeed listening to DiaW can bring back to age gone by, an age when barrel-houses were abound and jug bands provided a honest working man’s entertainment.

Devil in a Woodpile’s lineup is pretty simple, only three members currently, Rick Sherry, Tom Ray and Joel Paterson. They have other musicians that will step in on certain songs but the main group is just the three. The band got it’s start playing with Delta blues legend David Honeyboy Edwards, one of the oldest living blues greats from that region. When playing with Honeyboy he would take a break in between sets. That’s when the guys would switch it up and play some songs without Honeyboy, this mini-band was called Devil in a Woodpile and it grew from there. While the band comes from blues roots I wouldn’t label them as such. Their music shows elements of many other genres, old time, dixieland, jazz, rock, I could go on and on. Instrumentation aside what really sets DiaW apart for me is their singer, Rick Sherry. He’s deep vocals are spot on and set the tone for the instrumentation perfectly. They give off a whole “dark-smoky-pub” vibe. You know the place, over crowded, beer on the floor, the occasional clash as a glass hits the floor, the whole building shakes every five minutes due to a train passing nearby, abandoned dogs hanging out by the back door waiting for the barmaids to throw them some scraps, that kinda place.

DiaW’s music itself is comprised of some original numbers and some covers of older tunes. The covers are so changed by their sound that are hardly recognizable, so the covers are basically originals to a new listener. In fact I wasn’t aware that some of the songs were covers until I was preparing to write this article. They were changed that much by this band’s unique sound. Currently Devil in a Woodpile has three albums. They are all really good and you can’t go wrong with any of them.

1) Devil in a Woodpile [1998]
2) Division Street [2000]
3) In Your Lonesome Town [2005]

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