Jackslacks (Chris Giorgio) has been a fixture in the local rockabilly scene for years, and his latest EP, When Pigs Fly, is a tribute to longtime friend and fellow musician Billy Bacon, who passed last year. Jacklacks and Bacon were founding members in the Forbidden Pigs, and this three-track set is a rockabilly highlight reel that both pays its due to Bacon and rejoices in the sound these veteran players have mastered. On hand for the project are some other members of the Pigs and other noteworthy, top-shelf players.
Drums, percussion, and lead vocals are handled by Jackslacks, Jerry “Hot Rod” DeMink is on lead guitar, Adrian Demain plays ukulele and backing vocals, Tim “Steelbone”Cook is on accordion and pedal steel. Upright bass on all three tunes is Bill Grubbs and others on hand include Tommy Byrnes on guitar, and contributions by Dave Roof, Gig Fortier, Chris Cote, Lily Roof, Jeff Brown, and Eric Hutchinson.
The set starts off with “Hog Heaven,” an up-tempo rocker that celebrates the story of Bacon, the “best friend in the end,” and follows the career of the straight Irish Catholic who “loved Brian Wilson.” The tribute tune takes its time, and DeMink lays down a hot solo that is a dose of extra voltage. It is a touching and rocking memento.
“The Way” adds a horn section, with Brown’s piano prominent, and is about “moving along with an open-hearted mind.” Here, Jackslacks is jumping for joy, and isn’t shy about giving some props to the Lord, with each morning being the first day of a “bright new future.” The short but sweet program closes out with “Just for Me,” which takes a high-octane rockabilly chassis for a ride that features a couple of sharp textbook solos by former bandmate and Stray Cats member Byrnes. It’s a rollicking tune that relates the adventure of meeting that special girl, making a connection, and taking it from there, “She’s got a lot of soul/ A real individual/ I’ll never be the same.” Like the other music on When Pigs Fly, Jackslacks conveys an infectious joy with his songs that turn what could have been a somber tribute disc into an joyous musical memorial for a close friend.