By Peter Macbeath
A really good band is the sum of all its parts, and front man Will Faeber knows this. Lead guitarist, John DePatie, is a perfect fit. I have the feeling that John can play lead on almost anything with style, grace and high energy. This level of dexterity is key in Cathouse, for although they are country to the core, they often cross over into blues and rock areas. Will Faeber’s rich baritone voice has a classic (old school) country sound to it. It is obvious that the great country singers with which he grew up with in Kentucky have influenced him. In the song “Nashville Baby”, a song about a girl growing up in Nashville, I get an autobiographical vibe. In the story of the baby, she spends her childhood listening to country music and then goes on to become a great singer herself.
Rounding out the four man line-up are the Bagley brothers: Aaron “King Toke” Bagley and brother Jody. Both of these guys are vocalists in Cathouse, not surprisingly, as they both started out in the Boy Singers of Maine. Aaron plays a mean bass guitar and Jody plays keyboards. Will also plays keyboards and having both really adds a symphonic depth to their music. It’s hard to believe that there are only five musicians when you listen to the music – sounds like twice as many creating it.
In a typical live set, the band will playa few classic rock tunes to please the crowd, often varying the tempo somewhat. Quite honestly, though, it was the quality ofthe lyrics that grabbed me the first time I saw them at the Onyx Room in San Diego. Their country song themes are traditional -love and loss, rollin’ down the road, livin’ life to its fullest, and yet they manage to spin a web of thought in one’s mind. I’ll give an example; in “Walking into the Crossfire:”
“I was thinkin’ how you moved like a leopard through an open room,
As I was driving into Dallas to pull ajob that afternoon.”
What a great image in the first line. Yet how often have we ourselves been in a crisis situation, even facing death, when our mind wanders onto an un-related random thought? This camaraderie brings the listener in, and he instantly bonds with and can relate to the theme of the song.
Their rockin’ music is what I like best, but their slower ballads are also beautifully written and form pleasant interludes to their thousand-watt high-energy stuff. Will Faeber has a talent for moving the crowd, inviting them up on stage (a volunteer) to play tambourine on stage, or have a couple dance down front and appear in the latest music video.
So if it seems like I have nothing bad to say about Cathouse Thursday in this review, it is simply because I cannot find any flaws. I have seen 28 bands in 2010 so far, and Cathouse Thursday is definitely within the top three. Not bad when you realize that one other of these is UB40 at Humphrey’s main stage! It’s always exciting to know that there will be more great music on the way from Cathouse Thursday to look forward to.