Tuck & Patti headline Sylvan Lake’s Jazz at the Lake festival on Friday

Duo a melding of musical minds

When guitarist Tuck Andress first encountered singer Patti Cathcart at a band audition, it wasn’t just a case of boy meets girl. It was a melding of musical minds.

When guitarist Tuck Andress first encountered singer Patti Cathcart at a band audition, it wasn’t just a case of boy meets girl.

It was a melding of musical minds.

Although the California pop band they joined only had a short run, the two went on to perform as the long-lived duo Tuck & Patti. Through this tight musical partnership, they became close friends and eventually a romantic, then married couple.

But from the outset it was clear they shared a certain chemistry and philosophy.

Cathcart said both she and Andress agreed that every tune they tackled as a duo “had to speak to and be played from our hearts. … We are convinced that this principle is one of our secret weapons.”

And it’s a potent one. After 36 years of togetherness, both personally and professionally, Tuck & Patti have recorded 14 albums as a duo and are still performing all over the world.

Their last gig was a week-long stint at a jazz cafe in Madrid, Spain. And they will next headline on Friday, Aug. 15, at Sylvan Lake’s Jazz at the Lake festival.

They are particularly looking forward to the Central Alberta gig because it was years in the making. Andress said the offer was made to play at the festival a couple of years ago, but they had to wait until it lined up with other Alberta dates. “We’ve been trying to make it happen,” he added — and finally succeeded.

The couple intends to perform a little bit of everything at the festival — from songs from the great American song book, as recorded on the pair’s last album, I Remember You, to jazz standards and original tunes written by Cathcart.

Every song will get the Tuck & Patti treatment, which means a rich, layered guitar melody and warm, buttery vocals. “Jazz musicians are always writing songs and reinterpreting them,” said Cathcart. “We can’t help playing them our way because it’s Tuck playing the guitar and me singing.”

The duo’s interpretations of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time and The Beatles’ In My Life have received thousands of YouTube hits.

Andress, who’s been called one of the finest guitar players in the world, started out on an electric instrument after being inspired by Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix and jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery.

The Oklahoma-born Andress, who was previously a session player with The Gap Band, now plays both the electric and acoustic guitars with a similar finger-style technique that makes it sound as if three instruments are being strummed at the same time.

Since the duo’s music consists of only voice and guitar accompaniment, he said he has to make his guitar arrangements stand in for an entire orchestra.

Cathcart, who was born in San Francisco, studied the violin for years but was eventually encouraged by her music teacher to take up singing instead. “I listened to every style of music, from gospel to jazz, big band as well as R&B, and blues and country,” said Cathcart, who never takes on any song she doesn’t love.

Interestingly, love tends to factor into every original song she ever writes, points out Andress. That’s not to say his wife has a thing for sappy love tunes, but rather that Cathcart recognizes love is the essential connection between all human beings.

“I write about life the way I see it and I try to see the glass-half-full side of things,” she said, but sometimes she purposely pairs her upbeat melodies with fairly weighty lyrics that hint at the spiritual.

Cathcart believes a glimpse of the divine can be seen in all forms of art — whether it be a though-provoking painting or an inspirational song.

The couple, who long ago decided they couldn’t have children as well as a music career, have a not-so secret solution to having a long and productive partnership. Cathcart said it’s working through the hard parts.

“A lot of people are always looking for an out, but we made a commitment to each other that there would be no out — so we’ve got no choice, we have to make it work!”

Tickets to Tuck & Patti’s 8 p.m. concert at Sylvan Lake’s Alliance Community Church, at 4404 47th Ave., are $35 from the Sylvan Lake Aquatic Centre. Call 403-887-2199.

For scheduled events, performers and more information about the festival that runs from Aug. 14 to 17 at various venues, visit www.jazzatthelake.com.


Just Posted

Man arrested in connection with violent home invasion

RCMP Emergency Response Team deployed

Gesundheit! Stifling a sneeze can cause injuries in rare cases, experts say

TORONTO — With cases of flu continuing to rise in Canada, there’s… Continue reading

‘Reprehensible’: Trudeau abortion policy raises ire of U.S. right

WASHINGTON — In what’s almost certainly a first in the lengthy history… Continue reading

Japan public TV sends mistaken North Korean missile alert

TOKYO — Japan’s public broadcaster mistakenly sent an alert warning citizens of… Continue reading

‘I shouldn’t have to have a husband:’ Winnipeg woman criticizes men-only club

WINNIPEG — A former chair of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce says… Continue reading

Replay Red Deer Jan. 14: Watch news highlights in pictures

Stories mentioned: Red Deer RCMP seize large quantity of cocaine: Read more… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Photo: Chilly work in Veterans’ Park

What a chilly job but somebody has to do it.… Continue reading

Boy, 15, one of three hit in Vancouver shooting

Police believe a man in his 20s was the target of the shooting

UBCO psychology professor placed under supervision with focus on “boundary issues”

Dr. Stephen Porter has stepped aside from his teaching duties

Alberta elementary school teacher arrested on child porn charges

Investigators charged a 44-year-old Pincher Creek man with possessing, accessing, and distributing child pornography

Report: Health problems could arise as Alaska warms

Climate change in Alaska has the potential to create serious physical and… Continue reading

U.S. cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds

Consider this cold comfort: A quick study of the brutal American cold… Continue reading

Canadian Kennel Club seeking to add 12 more dogs to its pack

2018’s incoming class could include the Portuguese sheepdog, Tibetan mastiff, rat terrier and Spanish water dog

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month