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Devil in a Woodpile

In Your Lonesome Town – 2005 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by Greg Milliken

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CDs by Devil in a Woodpile

Chicago-based Devil In The Woodpile's third Bloodshot release recalls the era before Top 40 playlists; a time when musical genres hadn't solidified into walls. Front man Rick "Cookin'" Sherry leads the quartet through a dozen stompin' old time country, blues, Dixieland and gospel numbers. The album opens down in the Mississippi Delta with Sonny Terry's "A Long Way From Home" and Charlie Patton's "Shake It and Break It."

But this is by no means one of those Eric Clapton-type tribute albums. With the fourth cut, when Sherry's swinging clarinet makes its first appearance, it becomes clear that the 'Devil' isn't playing by 21st century music industry rules.

Standouts along the way include the vaudeville-era pop song "Lousiana Fairytale" (PBS-watchers will recognize the melody), the instrumental "Beer Ticket Rag" and Big Bill Broonzy's "When I'm Drinkin'."

Sherry's ebullient baritone, a blend of Sleepy LaBeef and Jerry Lee Lewis, is subdued only on "I'll Be Rested" where guitarist Joel Patterson leads group vocals. Sherry's harmonica, washboard, jug and kick drum support throughout. Tom Ray's slappin' bass undergirds the effort, and soundman Gary Scheper brought along his tuba for a couple of numbers. Giving the Devil his due, this one's a lot of fun.