Meet the imaginatively named Pork Tornadoes, a cover band from Cedar Falls, Iowa. They describe themselves as a powerful party band that has played at the biggest bars, festivals and events in the Midwest.
How did they come up with their name, you ask? The band’s name changed quite a few times as they searched for perfection. Then one day, a tornado struck a local pig farm. A radio DJ described it as a “pork tornado.” Sympathy for the pigs aside, it was a lightning strike for the band. Finally, they had found their name.
The Pork Tornadoes are a quartet, but they started life as a duo in 2008. Mason Greve was the vocalist, and Corey Talbot played bass. The change of name wasn’t due to being indecisive. Instead, they changed the name to win more work as a cover band. After a while, though, they built a following. Their fans asked them to stop changing their name so they could actually find out when they were playing. The band obliged.
Over the next few years, the lineup fluctuated a little. Drummer Dante Ware joined, as did Brett Estland on keyboards. However, they eventually left, Dante in 2012 and Brett in 2017. They were replaced by Mike Shultz on the drums and Jerry Lorenson on keyboards, and this remains their current lineup.
As well as playing gigs around America’s Midwest, the Pork Tornados have an online presence too. In the internet age, it’s almost a prerequisite for any musician or band. Their YouTube channel has 28,000 subscribers, which is pretty good for a band that doesn’t tour outside their local area. Despite this smaller following, they have had videos go viral and receive millions of views.
One of their most popular videos is a cover of the country hit Tennessee Whiskey. Written in 1981, the song was originally recorded by David Allen Coe as part of his album of the same name. It only reached number 77 on the Billboard chart, but when it was covered just two years by another country singer, George Jones, it shot to number two. American singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton released an R&B-influenced version in 2015, which went all the way to number one on the Hot Country Billboard chart.
There are also a lot of other covers on YouTube. The Pork Tornadoes version holds its own against all of them. The band recorded the video at the Sonic Factory Studio in Des Moines, and it’s fun to watch them get set up. Once they start singing, that’s all you’re interested in, however. Mason Greve’s voice is incredible, and it’s no wonder he’s often referred to as “The Justin Timberlake of the Midwest.”
The rest of the band compliments his performance perfectly, injecting so much soul into their performance. No wonder it’s been viewed more than 7.3 million times. It seems to touch the heart of every person who listens to it. One fan commented, “Certain artists cover songs, every once in awhile the cover blows the original away. You guys owned this song!! Absolutely amazing! Love hearing it live too, can’t wait to see you guys live again!!”
If you’ve never heard it, listen to it now. If you would like to see more from The Pork Tornadoes you can subscribe to them on their YouTube channel or follow them on Facebook. You can also visit their official website for more information.