How do you review a Jackslacks (a.k.a. Chris Giorgio) album? How do you review an album when you know, before you even listen, that you will have a hard time finding any flaws? Jackslacks is one of those musicians who can do no wrong. He achieves this, by simply being authentic, honest and sticking to his musical roots on his releases. Though he may deviate on the occasion, by introducing additional flavors into his roots Americana stylings, Jackslacks is a keen purveyor of those nostalgic, organic sounds which are so dearly missing from most of today’s digital releases. Moreover, Jackslacks is a storyteller, with a penchant for rich and accurate imagery within his narratives.
Jackslacks writes songs that bear repeat listening, sinking deeper into your brain every time you hear them. So where does his latest 3 track EP – “When Pigs Fly” – fit within the growing canon of Jackslacks’ releases? Aside, of course, from being another masterwork? Do your musical tastes fall through the cracks between country, rock, folk, blues, and some upbeat rockabilly swing? Then you will love the new Jackslacks album “When Pigs Fly”.
At its core, the EP, “When Pigs Fly”, is an affectionate ode to a dear friend named Billy Bacon, who died of rheumatoid arthritis last year. Bacon was the frontman of the San Diego Tex-Mex collective, Forbidden Pigs, alongside drummer/vocalist Jackslacks. In fact the opening song “Hog Heaven”, which rides on a steady mid-tempo groove, narrates Bacon’s story.
Jackslacks is also joined on the track, by remaining Forbidden Pigs members, Jerry “Hot Rod” DeMink, Adrian Demain, and Tim “Steelbone” Cook, plus pianist Dave Roof. Together they put together a bump and jangle grind that will have you snapping you fingers to the beat. “Straight Irish Catholic, a Russell to be sure. Not one to bend, a best friend in the end,” sings Jackslacks, describing Billy Bacon.
The music on this EP reminds us of how good musicians can be with the benefit of time and deliberation. Jackslacks and his cohorts, sound as engaged as ever, and this EP is a tuneful reminder of the artist’s vast musical range. On the track, “The Way”, Jackslacks has the audacity to introduce a horn section into the arrangement. Dave Roof on trumpet, and Lily Roof on saxophone, add a whole lot of tonal muscle to the track, which leans sweetly and solidly on Bill Grubbs’ resonating upright bass, and Jackslacks tasteful stick work.
Jackslacks turns up the dial on the fiery rockabilly groove of “Just For Me”, which features the extraordinary six-string talents of Tommy Byrnes, who has performed with Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats, and is the guitarist and musical director for Billy Joel. Jackslacks is better than most at crafting punchy and rousing retro rockers, as he seems to unlock some kind of special songwriting magic when he digs into his own roots.
With this batch of songs on the “When Pigs Fly” EP, out via indie label Shield of Love, Jackslacks – who sounds at the peak of his power – has figured out how to infuse fresh dynamism and grandeur into nostalgic, and classic musical aesthetics. Much of that has to do with the performances, production and arrangements. The result is Jackslacks’ most pristine and satisfying body of work.
More About: A founding member in both Forbidden Pigs and Hot Rod Lincoln, popular groups in the early San Diego roots-rock scene. Jackslacks has performed and recorded with many popular players of the genre, as well as opening shows for a variety of original and neo revival acts all across the United States, including hero’s Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Chuck Berry, The Blasters, Robert Gordon, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Reverend Horton Heat, NRBQ, Junior Brown, Morrissey and others.