NOTE: The following was written when Purgatory Hill was pat's blues persona, before Purgatory Hill became the name of the band.
My mother, Heaven Williams (aka Heaven Hill), rest her soul, was a distiller's daughter and a tea-totaler all her life. She met my father, a rounder, a drifter, a "good client..." in the burlesque house she managed in Memphis. She named me Purgatory because it was, she said, "the closest thing to Heaven I could find" and handed down the name Hill (her stripper name) because, according to her, Williams (her maiden name) is "one of the names the devil goes by." (More details of my life will become available as they're created)
Since becoming infatuated with delta blues at age fifteen, I've always wanted a blues persona. I never thought the name "pat mAcdonald" was cool, with or without the funny capitalization. Chester Burnett might have felt the same about his name before he became Howlin' Wolf. McKinley Morganfield, a pretty cool name, was still no match for Muddy Waters. And would Gordon Sumner have ever made it as a blues singer without changing his name to Sting?
Some might say, "How many fuckin' pseudonyms do you need? Aren't you Cracker Daniels too?" To them I say, "No, that's someone else."
Pseudonyms aside, i suppose i'm best described as a "one-man band" because there's only one of me. And even without my sidekick melaniejane (who is obviously not a man) on harmonies and shakers and things, i strive to sound like a band. The main instrument i play, the Lowebow "Purgatory Hill Harp" built by the great Johnny Lowebow is the ultimate one-man band instrument. Basically a cigar box and two poles with strings attached, it fits the category of "cigar box guitar" but it's so much more! Because it has three guitar strings and a bass string, i can play slide guitar and bass at the same time. I also embrace the standard accoutrements of the one-man band: harmonica on a neck rack, amplified foot stomp, and whatever else will make extra noise.
My new CD is out now and I'd like everyone to hear it. If you need help in obtaining a copy (including financial) please let me know- i swear I'll do what i can. Thanks for supporting the music! xo,p