Devil in A Woodpile Shows
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About Devil in A Woodpile
Devil In A Woodpile has been playing acoustic blues and ragtime in Chicago for the last 10 years.
Rick Sherry and Tom Ray started playing together in the early 90s as members of the Jake LaBotz trio. When Jake skipped town and the duo had some gigs to fill, a new band was born. Rick and Tom called on Delta blues legend David “Honeyboy” Edwards to fill the guitar void. To give Honeyboy a rest in between sets, the Rick and Tom played as Devil in a Woodpile, working up a set of harp-and-bass country blues tunes, combined with banjo-uke and jug rags composed by Tom.
After adding Paul K. on guitar, the new trio started looking for a venue. Rick and Tom stumbled upon the Hideout, tucked away in an industrial neighborhood of Chicago. The club’s new owners had just finished laying down the floor tiles and invited the two in for a cold one. One of the owners, Tim Tuten, expressed excitement upon seeing Rick’s hat; it displayed an insignia for the band the Bottle Rockets. Tim loved the band and asked, “You guys dig the Bottle Rockets?” Rick pointed to Tom and replied, “ Don’t you know who this dude is?” Tom Ray had actually quit the band that very day, and in no time Tom and Rick had themselves a gig. The Hideout had yet to become the music venue it is today, but Tim hired them to play the next Tuesday night, unplugged, in the front room on the floor by the bar. In that moment, a new Chicago music room was born and a long tradition was kicked off: Devil in a Woodpile has held court at the Hideout on Tuesday evenings since.
After word got around about the band, the bar and Tuesday nights, Bloodshot Records’ Rob Miller showed interest, signed them, and launched Devil in a Woodpile onto the alt-country highway. Their self-titled debut was released in 1998, followed by “Division Street” in 2000. Devil in a Woodpile has played extensively in the Chicago area and has toured with Son Volt. Most recently, in 2003, the band got a shot in the arm with the addition of finger-style guitar savant Joel Paterson.
Devil in a Woodpile is still pushin’ it every Tuesday night at the Hideout (www.hideoutchicago.com). Every week they rock a crowded bar with no mikes and no amps, transforming the indie music venue into a modern-day barrelhouse.
Rick Cookin’ Sherry sings, plays harmonica, washboard, clarinet, and blows the jug. He started playing in Chicago with the Bucktown Barbeque Boys, Maxwell Street Jimmie Davis, and Jake LaBotz. He often accompanies Delta blues legend David “Honeyboy” Edwards. He has recorded with The Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Eric Noden, Yoko Noge, and Frank Morey.
Tom Ray started slappin’ the bass on the streets of New Orleans with Augie’s Big Mess Blues Band. Since moving to Chicago, Tom has been a member of Poi Dog Pondering, The Bottle Rockets and The Waco Brothers. He is presently playing with Neko Case and is a regular member of the Blue Man Group band.
Joel Paterson originally hails from Madison, Wisconsin. He moved to Chicago in 1998 and is now one of the busiest guitar players in town. Along with his Devil duties he plays with The Joel Paterson Blues Roundup, Kelly Hogan’s Wooden Leg, The Wabash Jug Band and Steve Dawson. Joel also handles the Travis pickin’ and pedal steel chair in Scott Ligon’s new honky-tonk band, The Western Elstons. His Blues Roundup frequently plays at Buddy Guy’s Legends and has just released a new CD entitled “Go Lightnin'” on Meantone Records & Tapes. The disc showcases Joel’s brand of electric country blues and features Rick Sherry on a few tracks.
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