Paul Pigat aka Cousin Harley

Paul Pigat aka Cousin Harley

 Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN
BandFolkRock

Dedication to live performance, recording and study has established Paul Pigat as a superb guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and teacher. An extremely versatile artist, with projects ranging from delta blues to classical, he heads four diverse bands and is in high demand as a sideman and instructor. Paul Pigat and his rockabilly trio, Cousin Harley, play hot enough to raise sweat on a chunk of granite! - Monday Magazine (Victoria)

Biography

Youd never think it to look at Paul Pigat, but behind that unassuming grin and underneath those Doc Watson glasses lurks one of the most restless, combustible musical imaginations ever crammed like so much canned heat into a single body. Blessed with a jazz mans sheen, a rockabilly heart and a hobos soul, there arent many genres of music that dont pull at Pigats wayfaring imagination like a magnet. In many ways, its a mystery why Paul Pigat isnt a household name yet. Maybe hed be a lot easier to pin down if he wasnt so darn good at so many different things.

One could be forgiven for thinking that up until now Paul Pigat has spent his whole career flying under the radar. Like all those great old Stax records where Steve Cropper stood behind Otis Redding and played his heart out before anyone knew who he was, Pigat has been creating sweet sounds for some of the best artists in the country without getting the attention youd expect. Still, youd have to have been hiding under a pretty big rock to have never heard the immediately recognizable sound of his distinctive guitar playing as over the last several years this unassuming Vancouver native has quietly compiled a list of credits that would be the envy of anyone in the music business.

There arent many musicians who can put their egos aside and lay down exactly the right part without giving into the temptation to be flashy. Without exception, Paul Pigats playing is the epitome of taste and discretion as he fits easily into so many different musical universes without ever overplaying or surrendering to rock and roll cliches. It doesnt take very long to hear why his intuitive rhythms and fluid, creative solos have become an indispensible part of so many musicians and bandleaders sounds. Whether hes playing a searing solo to elevate the soaring vocals of a traditional gospel rave up from The Sojourners or flying in to support Jakob Dylan at a showcase in New York, Paul Pigats singular dedication and peerless work ethic have earned him a growing respect within musics inner circles. However impressive the list of credits hes compiled over the last few years has been earned by supporting artists such as Neko Case, Jim Byrnes and Carolyn Mark its when you get to hear Paul on his own that his star really shines. All of the ideas that have been percolating for years while hes been playing in the background have the chance to come out into the limelight and have their moment in the sun. To paraphrase the old blues song, Pigats got so many tunes he dont know which way to jump. So, instead he simply gives into his muse and exuberantly follows wherever it carries him. Sometimes, he takes on the guise of inbred rockabilly hero, Cousin Harley to crank up the energy so high that no one can resist digging deep into their pockets to pay the wages of sin and dance around the still to Pigats exhilarating hillbilly squonk.

Called the Motorhead of Rockabilly by a delirious fan after a particularly raucous show in Holland, theres nothing tentative about Cousin Harleys pedal to the metal approach to this stripped down form of rock and roll. As Pigat notes, Cousin Harleys been my main project for 12 or 13 years now, and people think its easy to play rockabilly, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Everyone has to be on board from the first note or it just doesnt work. And judging from the people who drove or flew hundreds of miles to attend shows on his last European jaunt, everythings working just fine. But, just when you think his music is all lit up like a leaky propane tank in a fireworks factory, Pigat can bring it down to 3 am embers with trouble in mind as he steps out and opens up his trunk full of Boxcar Campfire songs to romance you with. Originally created as a way of bringing it down a bit, Boxcar Campfire has taken on a life of its own as this new recording and touring project allows a more reflective and insular shade of Pigats creativity to come into play. Those with sharp ears will hear snatches of everything from Debussy to Jimmy Rodgers blues inflections thrown into the mix, but as always the sounds Pigat creates are all his own. With long gone days of railroad steam trailing out back of his head as he sings of possums in the pot and holes in his heart, this music gets you in the mood to hit the open road and jungle up down by the water, just before he takes it down again and you start dreaming of Lester Young and debonair jazz club suits.

From solos raw enough to melt the door off an old Cadillac to delicate etudes written for the crows to fly home to, Paul Pigat is a guitarist who can truly play it all. Is he a genteel sideman, unrepentant redneck, sensitive singer/songwriter, classical composer or a Mulligatawny blend of all the above? As unpredictable as your bipolar uncle one minute and as gentle as breaking dawn the next, youre never quite sure which Paul Pigat youre going to meet when you p

Lyrics

Troubles On My Mind

Written By: Paul Pigat

I'm walkin' out the door tonight and I won't be back 'til dawn
No I won't be back 'til dawn
So please don't try to pick a fight 'cause you can't change my mind
Just let me leave without a word to clutter up my thoughts
'Cause I've heard all you've got to say and I'm too tired to talk

I've said it time and time before and I've got no more to say
No I've got no more to say
There ain't no way to mend this now so I'll be on my way
'Cause broken souls are a dime a dozen held together by bale and twine
And my old rope just seems to pull and fray with passin' time

The storms are brewin' in my head
And I can't put them clouds to bed
I got troubles on my mind
I've got troubles on my mind I can't leave them behind
I can see the red fall from a clear blue sky
I've got troubles on my mind

No excuses can I give to you but I hope you understand
Please understand
You can't fix all that's broke with the wave of just one hand
And I'll be gone but not for long
And I'll be back by the dawn and I hope to find you here
'Cause it's hard to tell how I get lost
I get tired the roads get crossed the rain starts drawin' near

I've got troubles on my mind I can't leave them behind
I can see the red fall from a clear blue sky
I've got trouble on my mind I can't leave them behind
I can see the red fall from a clear blue sky
I've got troubles on my mind

Johnny's Poorly

Written By: Paul Pigat

Johnny's poorly, clouds are black and full
Johnny's poorly, Lord have mercy on his soul
Children hungry just got possum in the pot
Poor Johnny's poorly got that hole, in his heart

Beamin' love Johnny filled that hole in his heart
Got five hungry children gonna' tear them apart
Bury that possum with the eyes lookin' down
If it looks up to to heaven, gonna' lay Johnny down

Well the corn gone to husk
Blade's gone to rust
Lookin' for mercy when what do I spy
Black clouds a-weepin' through the woods come a-creepin'
My peepin' little possum where'd you get them eyes

Johnny's poorly, man left is flesh and bone
Johnny's poorly, Lord have mercy on his soul
Children still hungry just got possum in the pot
Poor Johnny's poorly got that hole in his heart

Well the corn gone to husk
Blade's gone to rust
Lookin' for mercy when what do I spy
Black clouds a-weepin' through the woods come a-creepin'
My peepin' little possum where'd you get them eyes

Johnny's poorly, man left is flesh and bone
Johnny's poorly, Lord have mercy on his soul
Children still hungry just got possum in the pot
Poor Johnny's poorly got that hole in his heart

Got a hole in his heart

Discography

CDs:
2013 — B'Hiki Bop (Cousin Harley)
2010 — It's a Sin (Cousin Harley)
2009 — Boxcar Campfire (Paul Pigat)
2006 — Hillbilly Madness! (Cousin Harley)
2002 — Jukin' (Cousin Harley)

Instructional DVDs - Paul Pigat (www.learnrootsmusic.com):
2008 — Travis Picking Hillbilly Fingerstyle Guitar
2006 — Jazzin' Up Your Guitar
2005 — Rockabilly Electric Guitar

Set List

COUSIN HARLEY (rockabilly)

2 Bottles of Booze (Paul Pigat)
13 Women (Bill Haley)
16 Tons (Ernie Ford)
20 Flight Rock (Eddie Cochrane)
Be Bop a Lula (Gene Vincent)
Beaver Fever (Paul Pigat)
Been a Fool About You (Hank Williams)
Blue Light Boogie (Louis Jordan)
Blue Moon of Kentucky (Elvis)
Bluesmobile
Boogie Real Low (Frankie Lee Sims)
Boppin the Blues (Carl Perkins)
C'est La Vie (Chuck Berry)
Conductor Man (Paul Pigat)
Crazy Arms (Ray Price)
Divorce Me C.O.D (Merle Travis)
Drinkin' Wine Spo-dee-o-dee (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Dust Bowl Devil (Paul Pigat)
Fat Gal (Merle Travis)
Folsom Prison (Johnny Cash)
Great Balls of Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Hey Good Lookin' (Hank Williams)
Honey Don’t (Carl Perkins)
Honky Tonk (Bill Doggett)
Hoss' Hoedown (Paul Pigat)
Hot Little Baby (Paul Pigat)
Hound Dog (Elvis)
House Party (Junior Watson)
How My Heart Yearns For You (Paul Pigat)
I Gotta Get a Cadillac (Stray Cats)
I Guess it Doesn’t Matter
I Won’t Stand in Your Way (Stray