Scotty L and the Demon Pig Trio: Great Name, Great Blues and Rock and Roll

When it comes to blues, I like just about all of it. Each artist's take on the classic blues ideas are unique, but some are more unique than others. Those truly unique ones are the artists that tend to really stick in my mind. A week or two ago I had one of the readers of the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll recommend to me a blues band they caught at the House of Blues in Atlantic City. This band is just that... complete unique... and indeed they have stuck in my mind.

The band has a pretty sweet name too, well if you like long complex names. They're Scotty L and the Demon Pig Trio, which oddly enough does roll of the tongue, and they play some of the most exciting blues rock I've heard in a long time. Special thanks to who recommended it to me... great suggestion (if you're reading this, then you know you who are).

So the Demon Pig Trio is quite an electric little band. They're definitely a blues based band, but there are moments of rockabilly, jazz and hard rock too. I think the best way to describe them is on the edge. Their music just sounds so pushed, not necessarily to the point where it's out of control, but definitely giving it everything they got. I hear a lot of a Texas in their sound, but I'm not sure exactly where they're from so that may or may not be geographically accurate. Still, when I first listened to a few of their tracks, the Stevie Ray Vaughan influence really stuck out to me both musically and vocally. There's also a bit of ZZ Top in there, some Hendrix, and I also hear a bit of another band I just wrote about a few weeks ago, the Sonics, especially in the vocals. No where though, does the band as a whole really sound like anything I've ever heard before. It's a gritty, primal and very soulful take on the blues and rock and roll with the guitar work, vocals and these songs all just sounding huge.

I checked out 8 songs from this group, a couple of covers I know for sure and some originals I believe as well, and I think they're all amazing.

First impressions are usually pretty big for me in that if I don't hear something immediately that strikes me, I'm not as motivated to listen on to some of the other tracks. The first song I heard from the Demon Pig Trio was "King Bee" and it made quite an impression. The song opens with some blues influenced, rapid paced, rock riffs that screech in a very Hendrix-esque quality before the song settles into a funky blues swagger with a great riff and some killer wah pedal work. It's a great first impression with tons of soul, plenty of rockin' blues stomp energy and really lets you know what this band is all about. "Walking Bar Blues" is mid tempo blues piece with huge slide guitar licks and soulful vocals, while "Wonder Bread" has some insane opening guitar work before it kicks in with it's own grinding blues riffs complete with harmonica and some gritty, growling voice work. Both of these songs are in the blues vein, but they sound so pushed and smoky, and have such intensity in the way they're presented that they sound like a far different animal than some other, more subtle, blues players.

"Bright Lights Big City" continues along these same bluesy lines with it's pretty straight forward shuffling style and features some more huge vocals and guitar leads. "Mystery Train" is a country/rockabilly stomp with great screaming slide guitar work as the band kicks it into overdrive, while "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" is a country and blues flavored ballad that sounds like the dawn break after a long night singing the blues. I especially like this song because the vocals are so massively soulful, really working well as a contrast to the somewhat subtle backing rhythm.

A good example of how this band differs from other bands is their take on a classic from Willie Dixon. They call it "Hoochie Coochie Boogie Man". It's similar to the original "Hoochie Coochie Man" and all the various covers I've heard over the years, but far rawer and like the name might imply, it boogies more. The Demon Pig Trio adds their own unique cocky swagger to it that I like, making it completely unique, but still paying homage to the original. They also do a cover of "Route 66" that sounds completely different than some other artists' takes. The Demon Pig Trio version is in a bit of a jazzy style with soft pulled back percussion and jazzy guitar licks, but the vocals are darker and more growling than one might expect. A decisively different interpretation with a very smoky feel like the rest of these songs, but I really like it. This is another song that has been covered a lot, yet I don't think I've heard a version like this before.

Although I can describe these songs to you, really with this band more than most, I think the best way to understand why I was so struck by them is to listen to the music because there are certain things that really stand out. The first thing that stood out for me was the guitar work. It sounds huge with excellent musicianship whether we're talking about the thick slide licks, the screaming, funky wah pedal lines or the more subtle jazzy work. The second thing is the vocal work. Scotty L (if indeed that is him on vocals) can sing like no other. His voice is very deep and sounds massive and absolutely aches with soul when pushed nearly to the straining point. I hear a bit of Elvis in those vocals (I could easily see this band pulling off a stellar cover of "Hound Dog"), but also a lot of rock and rollers (especially Gerry Roslie of the Sonics, like I mentioned), blues players (SRV comes to mind), and jazz singers as well. There is a roughness to his vocal style, but it's not an abrasive sound as there is also a feeling of class and style throughout all of it... very much a feeling I associate with early rock and roll and blues players like B.B. King.

Together the vocals and guitars really make these songs sound far more visceral than they might otherwise. This is not clean polished blues/soul/rock and roll, but it's not overtly rough edged or abrasive either. Instead, it's the kind of soulful outpouring you'd expect to find in a late night blues club as dawn approaches... distinctly smoky, extremely authentic and not holding anything back.

I think anyone who's into blues should, without question, check out Scotty L and the Demon Pig Trio, as should anyone who's into rock and roll. I doubt that everyone of those people will like their take on those genres, but they should still give it a chance because these guys really know how to play, give it everything they got while still adding their own personality, and can really wail. I bet this band puts on one heck of a live show too, so if you get the chance try and catch them live as well.

You can listen to (and buy) all 8 songs I mentioned in this post on their somewhat unfinished website: http://scottyldemonpigtrio.com/

As far as I know, but band doesn't yet have a myspace page, but like I said, you can listen to their music right on their web page so it's not a problem

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