Pirates of the Mississippi is an American country music duo composed of guitarist/vocalist Rich Alves and lead singer Bill McCorvey. They are both founding members of the re-established group, which began in 1987 as a five-piece band; completing the original lineup were drummer Jimmy Lowe, steel guitarist Pat Severs, and bass guitarist Dean Townson. Under this five-piece lineup, Pirates of the Mississippi made its national debut in 1990 with a cover of Hank Williams' "Honky Tonk Blues"; a #26 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) chart...
Under this five-piece lineup, Pirates of the Mississippi made its national debut in 1990 with a cover of Hank Williams' "Honky Tonk Blues"; a #26 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) chart, it was the debut single from their self-titled debut album. "Honky Tonk Blues" was followed by ten more singles, all of which charted between 1990 and 1995; in that same time span, the band would release four more studio albums and a compilation album. Severs was replaced by Greg Trostle in 1994; two years later, the five members parted ways.
In 2000, Rich and Bill reunited and began recording again as a duo, once again using the name Pirates of the Mississippi. The re-established lineup of Alves and McCorvey has produced one album to date -- 2006's Heaven and a Dixie Night, on the independent CBuJ Ent. label.
Pirates of the Mississippi was formed in 1987, when Nashville session musicians Bill McCorvey (lead vocals), Rich Alves (guitar), Dean Townson (bass guitar), Jimmy Lowe (drums), and Pat Severs (steel guitar) started performing together. Originally, they identified themselves as the We Don't Want a Freaking Record Deal Band; upon witnessing a group of fans wearing clogs, the group changed its name to The Cloggers. Eventually, they settled on the name Pirates of the Mississippi; this name was inspired by Lowe, whom the other members thought resembled a pirate.
Pirates of the Mississippi soon began playing various clubs around Nashville; eventually, they attracted the attention of an A&R representative at Capitol Records, who signed them to a recording contract in 1990. That year, they released their debut album (also titled Pirates of the Mississippi, with its first single being a cover of Hank Williams' "Honky Tonk Blues"; this cover peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. "Feed Jake", the third single from the album, became the group's highest-charting hit, peaking at #15. Its success helped the Pirates earn a Top New Vocal Group award from the Academy of Country Music.
1991's Walk the Plank, their second album for Capitol. produced two Top 40 hits and a #41. After a restructuring of Capitol Nashville, the band was shifted to Liberty Records, where they would release their third and fourth albums: A Street Man Named Desire (1992) and Dream You (1993). Each album produced only one chart single.
By 1994, a compilation album entitled The Best of Pirates of the Mississippi was issued. This compilation included several tracks from their first four albums, as well as newly recorded dance mixes. The same year, Severs was replaced with Greg Trostle on steel guitar. Not long afterward, they would exit Liberty's roster for Giant Records, where they would release the album Paradise. That album's only single failed to chart at all, and the band broke up in 1996, with Alves and McCorvey choosing to focus on their songwriting.
In 2000, Rich Alves and Bill McCorvey decided to reunite as a duo, again assuming the name Pirates of the Mississippi. They were signed to CBuJ Ent. Records in 2006, releasing the album Heaven and a Dixie Night that year. Former member Pat Severs has since joined the house band on Nashville Star, a talent show which airs on the USA Networks. McCorvey has also founded a second band named Buffalo Rome, although he and Alves continue to tour as Pirates of the Mississippi as well.