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Devil in a Woodpile

A deal with the Devil will get you free blues.
Monday Jul 04, 2005.     By Jacob Knabb
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

Devil in a Woodpile is a staple act at the Hideout, playing a free show each and every Tuesday. But the band has been around longer than you might suspect, and aren't playing for free because it can't justify a cover. After cutting its teeth with Chicago blues legend "Honeyboy" Edwards, it has played all over Chicagoland, perfecting it acoustic blues style to a rip-roaring, ceiling-fan shaking, foot-stomping peak of perfection.

Keep in mind that when they play acoustic that mean no amplification. It's Depression-era music played just like it was back then, which means this is the closest thing to a juke joint jump band you're going to get in the 21st century. Members Rick "Cookin'" Sherry, Ton Ray and Joel Patterson (and sometimes Gary Schepers) record for Chicagoís home of "Insurgent Country," Bloodshot Records, and know more standards than the folks at the Green Mill. So it might be time for you to get to know them, too.

They're equally comfortable playing a countrified brand of blues as they are a bluesy brand of country, as well as some good old Appalachian hillbilly tunes. And their live shows are every bit as artistic as the gigs at the Chicago Theater, but will never cost you $50 to see, or require you to dress up in designer duds. To kick off our new series of pieces on bands that have more than justified their existence, Centerstage shot out our six standard questions for the folks in the Woodpile to take on. Here's what they had to say:

Tell me who you are: "Devil in a Woodpile from here in Chicago, recording for the Bloodshot label."

Where were baby's first steps: "Our first gigs we were warmin' up for "Honeyboy" Edwards in blues clubs. Our first "headline" show might just have been the first time we played a Tuesday night at the Hideout, about eight years ago."

Here I amórock you like a: "Steam locomotive speedin' thru the country, makin' the floorboards vibrate under your feet."

Coming soon to a dive bar near you: "Every Tuesday night at the Hideout and every other Wednesday night at the Candlelite Chicago on Western just south of Howard: Both shows are always unplugged and free!"

Fresh from the woodshop: "We just released our third CD for Bloodshot called "In Your Lonesome Town." It's our first release with guitarist extraordinaire Joel Paterson."

What's cool in your neck of the woods: "El Cid 2 on Kedzieógreat fish taco; Branko's near DePaul for good dogs and Italian beef; Pizza at the Candlelite; and LPs from the 99-cent bin at Laurie's Planet of Sound in Lincoln Square."

This band blew my hair back: "Actually, there are three: Bakelite 78, Gypsy Garage Combo and The Western Elstons."

Read more about Devil in a Woodpile, compliments of Bloodshot Records.


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