Raised in rural southern Maine, Catie was surrounded by a family in love with music. Show tunes and standards from the 1920s were regular fixtures in her home. Catie’s mother, in particular, had an ear for arranging harmonies and influenced Catie’s developing songwriting attempts. By her college years at Brown University in Rhode Island, Catie had begun to play her original works in the coffee houses around that campus. With the encouragement and support gained from that experience, she decided to pursue music as a career.
Catie settled in Boston in 1989 and split time between a day job as a social worker and building a reputation as a songwriter at night. Soon, she gained winning endorsements from the New England Folk Almanac and Performing Songwriter. In 1991, Catie produced her first recording, From Years to Hours. That collection earned her recognition beyond New England and lead to more touring. With the success of From Years to Hours and growing support as a performing musician, Catie left behind her day job and hasn’t looked back.
Her newest collection of songs, Truth from Lies, marks her major label debut. Working with producer David Kershenbaum, known for his work with Tracy Chapman and Joshua Kadison, Catie has created a very palatable context in which to absorb her songs.
The instrumentation is expanded to a full band on most cuts, but is subtle enough to allow the song to breathe and let the lyrics shine through. Good examples of the band’s synergy can be heard on Slave to My Belly and The Wolf. Duke Levine’s prodigious use of a volume pedal makes his electric guitar swell in and out of the mix, adding a subtle change in tonal color. Catie’s own guitar style is a solid mixture of finger-picking and a rhythmic strumming that is similar to Patty Larkin’s. Songs like Troubled Mind and Crocodile Tears show the strength of her playing and are most reminiscent of Catie’s live solo shows. Catie’s lyrics and melodies are what jumps out at you though. Her gentle way with words is evident in Troubled Mind:
"And I’m tired from all the weight
I’m tired of being strong
So won’t you come and stay
And let me lay down in your arms
Down in your arms"
Her deeply-felt love for her father is chronicled in My Dad’s Yard. The Wolf is perhaps the most powerful song in this collection. Written with her friend, Jennifer Robohm, this song about spousal abuse is chilling:
"Cause when the wolf lives in your house
You can’t get him out"
Michael sings in his low key style of the power of humor and optimism in face of disaster, in When We Stood In The Ashes.
Excellent engineering by Paul Stamler lends a crisp, balanced studio sound to this tape (though it was recorded at the Nona General Store in Augusta.) Do not miss this opportunity to hear their music as it pours forth from the hands of Gloria Bauermeister on guitar, mandolin, and banjo; Michael Bauermeister on guitar and dobro; Paul Ovaitt on guitar and mandolin; and Rebecca Weis Mayer on acoustic bass.
Out Attoun Productions. Available in cassette now by writing or calling the Bauermeisters at home: 6560 Augusta Bottom Rd., Augusta, Mo. 63332 ; (314)228-4663; and soon at Music Folk in Webster.
This is pretty serious Civil War stuff, and a sense of the story of what happened in Western Missouri during that time of terrible Guerrilla war is helpful, although not necessary due to the extremely extensive notes on each song given in a beautiful and photo-filled 40 page book that comes with the CD.
Some of my favorites were the rollicking Atchison’s Buccaneers and The Death General Lyon. Kelly’s Irish Brigade is a genuinely funny song about recruiting Irish for the Confederate side - something not usually thought of in conjunction with Civil War history. The song Daniel Martin contains lots of history and sings of almost every battle fought in Missouri. There is an extremely chilling Anderson’s Warning, taking the viewpoint of one of the most dangerous guerrillas of the war, written by none other than the gentle Cathy Barton! There’s even a song about Jesse James.
All in all, lots of history, lots of spirit and fun and entertainment by some of our region’s best cultural historians. The engineering on this recording is excellent and extremely professional throughout - you will enjoy it immensely .
You can get this CD for $15 direct from Dave Para at Big Canoe Records, 513 High Street, Booneville, MO 65233 or 816-882-7821.
The Red Mountain White Trash, from Birmingham, AL, fit firmly into the old-time sound, as learned from the scratchy records (and a few surviving artists), and transformed by the first generation of revival string-bands. Their repertoire is decidedly regional, drawn primarily from Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee; as a result, this CD contains tunes mostly new and fresh to the ears of this Missouri listener. (A good thing, too; Soldier’s Joy is a great tune, but after 1,000 years I suspect there aren’t many new ways to play it.)
There are four melody players (twin fiddles, mandolin, and harmonica or banjo-uke) and a three-piece rhythm section (guitar, string bass and autoharp). As a result, the band tends toward a richly textured sound reminiscent of the Cash Rebates or, particularly, the Fuzzy Mountain String Band, rather than the leaner sound typified by the Ill-Mo Boys. There is always a good deal going on melodically, but the band remains consistently tight and clean, never cluttered, on the dance tunes that make up the bulk of this recording. They hew to the classic southern “boom-chuck” rhythm, rather than the “sock” rhythms beginning to be used by bands like Pigs’ Eye Landing, and the wailing harmonica and twin fiddles add drive and energy.
The recording is filled out by a few vocal pieces; my favorite was a solo, with autoharp, on Wild Bill Jones. Some of the other songs sounded under-rehearsed, which was made more noticeable by the engineer’s mixing the harmony vocal higher than the melody. (The engineering was otherwise excellent.)
Taken as a whole, this is a fine album: good regional tunes, strong playing, clean arrangements. I’d take Fire in the Dumpster on a long car trip any day (if I could trust my car), and I look forward to hearing these folks play at a dance.
This CD can be ordered through J. Cauthen; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 205-822-0505.