By Kelly Baughman
While there are many duos performing on local stages today, few have more chemistry and are more dynamic than Al & Cathy. An acoustic duo with a diverse playlist that appeals to music lovers of all ages and musical talent that allows them to spice up each song with a wide variety of musical instruments, this duo makes magic together on and off the stage.
Cathy, a Mobile native, lived all over the country as she moved with her family to allow her father to pursue his career with NASA. A musical family, having had a Bluegrass band, Cathy became well versed in various instruments like the flute, mandolin, percussion, and keys. Upon her return to the Mobile area as an adult, Cathy found herself working in a hotel on the causeway, where she met the man that would become not only her partner on stage, but in life as well.
Al spent his early years growing up in Massachusetts, honing his guitar skills, perfecting his vocals, and learning how to command the attention of an audience. He chased his dreams of music to the bright lights of Nashville in his 20’s, but a visit to the Gulf Coast years later, turned into a gig at the hotel where Cathy worked as a bartender and the rest was history.
Cathy laughs about her falling for the man with the long hair and handsome face on the stage in front of her, “He was charming and I couldn’t resist.” And while it took some time to realize their musical chemistry, their personal attraction for one another was undeniable.
“It took us a couple of years to really get something going as a duo, but once we found our sound, we knew sharing a stage was what we were supposed to do,” Al said.
Although they may only be a duo, you may think you are hearing a full piece band as their harmonies fill the room and talent with instruments like the harmonica, flute, mandolin, and drums make their versions of old songs new again.
Their set list includes favorites by legends like Led Zepplin, Janis Joplin, Jim Croce, Carol King, Johnny Cash and Jethro Tull, and both Al and Cathy have the chops to pull them off. Their sound is something you’d expect to hear on the big stage, but their intimate vibe and connection with the crowd makes each of their local performances something to remember.
Jim Suiter of Chattanooga, TN agreed, saying, “I was vacationing on the Gulf Coast and caught Al & Cathy’s show. They were amazing. I would expect to pay big bucks to hear a concert like this, and plan on scheduling my next visit around their performances.”
Now living in Daphne, the couple lives a simple life at home with their two dogs, two cats, and 19 chickens. “We like being at home with the animals and living a quiet life,” Al said, but even when at home, music is always on their mind.
“We are starting a recording studio in our home. We’ve been taking the time to learn the ins and outs of music production, and we are looking forward to recording our own music as well as the music of our friends and fellow musicians,” Cathy added.
Al said what makes their partnership so successful on and off stage is being like-minded about the business. “It’s really hard to have a successful band or relationship for that matter with someone who isn’t in music. Our schedules are not conventional, and it’s a revolving door of late nights, hard work, and sacrifice. Finding someone who really understands that lifestyle and is willing to share it with me has been what makes us work for all these years.”
If you haven’t seen them play, the magnetism between them is evident. So is the raw, God-given talent. Whether you’re 18 or 80, Al & Cathy’s show will make you want to get up and dance. With a wide variety of songs from country to classic rock to your favorite 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s hits, Al & Cathy put on a show that will not disappoint.
You can see Al & Cathy every Friday night at the Pleasure Island Tiki Bar, once a month in Mobile at the Bluegill, and several times per week at the Flora-Bama Lounge. For more information, visit www.al-cathy.com or check PK Live for current music lineups.