DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

The Cat Mary, Chad Harvey at South By Southeast Show at Historic Train Depot in Myrtle Beach, SC

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on September 9, 2008

South By Southeast and New South Brewery presented an exciting evening with San Diego’s The Cat Mary on Saturday, August 2, 2008 at the historic Train Depot (851 Broadway) in downtown Myrtle Beach. This is another difficult-to-pigeonhole group of the ilk that the nonprofit South By Southeast so wonderfully and faithfully brings us – time and again.

These guys play what they call “kitchen-sink americana.” Their music can be kinda bluegrass, kinda jazzy, kinda folksy. They like to shake up the status quo with innovative, original tunes constructed with lyrics that are almost literary – thanks to founder Andrew Markham.

The Cat Mary’s first CD was Her High Lonesome Days and was a hit with print media, radio and a core of loyal fans. According to the group’s official bio, “. . . events (some typical, some uniquely sad) conspired to put TCM on a fair hiatus . . . TCM founder and leader Andrew Markham went around poaching enough wonderful players from other groups until he felt he could enter any house justified – Melissa Harley [violin] has studied with Richard Greene and Darrol Anger, and taught several years at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Camp; Kevin Dow was recently featured in Modern Drummer, and can be found in the orchestra pit, along with fellow TCM Members Ken Dow (upright bass) and Stephen ‘Hoops’ Snyder (keys) on Broadway polishing all their Tony awards for ‘The Jersey Boys.'”

Subsequent recordings included No Unwanted or Unfamiliar Passages (2002) and Postbellum Neighborhood (2006). The latter, which was a finalist in the IMA awards, earned big kudos from KUT radio in Austin, Texas: “Eclectic funkiness … Andrew Markham and company distinguish themselves by virtue of their songwriting, and the brilliant nimbleness by which they mix elements like violins, dobro, and second line drumming.” The groups upcoming CD is Pissants, Pilgrims, Vagrants and Victims.

Hoosier Chad Harvey opened the show. This singer/songwriter picked up and moved to Austin, Texas after watching John Prine on Austin City Limits one night. He then “proceeded to play every honky-tonk, voodoo haunt, and barbecue joint with a makeshift stage on the same trail blazed by Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt years earlier,” according to his bio. This gifted Indiana boy delivered a terrific set of foot-stompin’, rockin’ country music.
As usual the $5/$20 tickets included admission, food, and beverages provided by New South Brewery and Pepsi. For more info about SXSE, visit the website or call 843-497-3643, or 843-455-6499.
South By Southeast Website
The Cat Mary on MySpace


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