Paul Pigat (aka Cousin Harley)
Paul Pigat started playing the guitar at 11 years of age and was gigging steadily in downtown Toronto by the time he was 12. Through a lifetime dedication to live performance, recording and study he has developed into a superb guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. An extremely versatile artist, with projects ranging from delta blues to classical music, he heads four diverse Vancouver bands and is in high demand as a sideman, having recorded and toured with the likes of Neko Case, Carolyn Mark, Michael Kaeshammer and Ndidi Onukwulu. Artists with whom he has performed include Jim Byrnes, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Big Sandy, Aaron Neville, The Sojourners and many more.
Paul has played domestic and international performance venues ranging from small clubs to large stadiums, and festivals of all genres. Paul’s central touring project is his rocking hillbilly trio, Cousin Harley, considered to be Canada’s premier rockabilly and roots band. Cousin Harley has a hard-earned reputation for delivering everything from blistering rockabilly to foot stomping vintage country and western swing. Pigat is legendary for his inspired guitar work, mixing bebop jazz, honky tonk and pure 50s rock ‘n’ roll.
Paul’s Cousin Harley style is deeply rooted in the playing of Les Paul, Charlie Christian and Link Wray with a modern twist to create a style that is exhilarating in its intensity, yet at the same time fluid and precise. Paul’s creative use of tone and dynamics is a hallmark of everything he plays, and his sense of rhythm is both sophisticated and dead on. His superb talent as a guitarist is matched by his songwriting and his vocal abilities; a warm baritone equally at home singing flat-out rockers and relaxed country swing.
Paul released Cousin Harley’s second album, Jukin’, to critical acclaim in 2002, followed by Hillbilly Madness in 2006. They capture the blistering spirit of Cousin Harley’s dynamic live performances, showing what makes Cousin Harley truly unique in the roots music world. Studio work is complete on Cousin Harley’s latest offering, It’s A Sin, which will be released early in 2010, in conjunction with an innovative animated video project. Paul will also release his debut solo acoustic CD in November 2009. Boxcar Campfire features his songwriting and guitar virtuosity in a modern approach to the folk/blues tradition. He will be touring both projects domestically and internationally. Other current projects include the Paul Pigat Trio (bebop jazz), and Pigby (acoustic swing/jazz duo with Paul Rigby of Neko Case renown).
An acclaimed educator, Pigat has produced a series of highly regarded and best selling guitar instructional DVDs, distributed in the Learn Roots Music series. He is a popular and esteemed instructor at several guitar camps each year and also presents many workshops while on tour.