When I met Cathy Kreger and Marci Geller, they were playing with Diane Garisto in a group called Lucky 13, and I had no idea what their music was like. We were at the house of Tom and Robin Romeo, founders of WhereforeArts.com. Tom & Robin have a top-notch web series called “After Dinner” which features performances and interviews of awesome local artists, filmed in their north shore home.
So when I met the members of Lucky 13, it was in a spare bedroom that we were using as a dressing room. There were a lot of cliche’d girly exchanges about mascara and shirt choices, although officially I don’t think any of us identify as Girly. Later, when it was time for them to play, I remember thinking, “I really hope these guys are decent, because I like them and if I don’t like their music it will just be weird and awkward.”
I had nothing to worry about. I was fairly blown away by their performance, and especially by the way these very different musicians and songwriters formed into a unique, cohesive sound. Months later, I read on facebook that their time as a band was coming to an end. I was disappointed, as I think a lot of people were, but then I clicked around some more and learned that both Cathy and Marci are now more active than ever as solo artists.
So let me tell you about these two awesome LI singer-songwriters I met one time.
The first thing I noticed about Cathy Kreger is how she plays guitar. She is not what I would call a flashy player–more, someone who has the true musicianship to craft an arrangement that quietly enhances the song being played. Her guitar playing complements the heart of the song and lets it shine, rather than detracting from it by being either too flourishy or too run-of-the-mill.
Cathy’s songwriting is reminiscent of the timeless, to-the-heart style that Mary Chapin-Carpenter is known for, and her vocals bring a soul and depth that I associate more with Bonnie Raitt. It’s music that’s great to hear over a beer with some friends on a Saturday night, but that you’ll still want to come back to Sunday morning when you’re feeling more quiet and contemplative.
Marci Geller’s music has the mix of quiet strength and fire that a lot of people associate with Tori Amos. In fact, I’m pretty sure Marci is a Tori fan herself, and you can hear that a little bit in her music. But you can also hear moments of flashing intensity that are clearly pure Marci.
Marci strikes me as a songwriter with something to say. Sometimes she declares it in a loud burst, and sometimes she states it with a calm certainty. In either case, there’s a sense that you’ll be kicking yourself later if you miss the message now.
Cathy Kreger is making tracks all over the island with her guitar, and can next be seen at Thom Thom Restaurant in Wantagh on March 16th. Marci Geller is next performing in Stony Brook on March 20th, at an event sponsored by the label she founded herself, Sonic Underground. More information can be found at http://www.cathykreger.com/ and http://www.marcigeller.com/.