Cat Daddy’O: Power Trio of Blues

Venues & Businesses
Blue Sky Vineyard

Who: Cat Daddy’O
What: blues
When: 2017-08-13
Cat Daddy’O descends Sunday, August 13 on Blue Sky
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

words by Leah Williams

photo by Joanna Gray

Cat Daddy’O descends Sunday, August 13 on Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery. The local blues outfit packs a powerful punch with a hurt-so-good feeling.

Guitarist John Marczewski first came to Carbondale in 1977, following his brother as he attended SIU. Marczewski performed for years under the name Johnny Shea and worked with artists like Bobby “Blue” Bland while he was in Chicago.

“I was lucky enough to be brought on stage by Big Larry and Big Twist, to be brought up on stage and get to know them,” Marczewski said.

Cat Daddy’O has been playing out for the last six or seven years. The band also features Lou “Unk” Thery on bass guitar and backing vocals and Chris “chiLo” Ballard on drums. Thery and Ballard are also no strangers to the Southern Illinois scene, performing in the past as part of the groove-metal outfit Zaius.

“We consider ourselves a power trio of blues,” Marczewski said.

Marczewski said that Cat Daddy’O’s member feed off each other to create a highly energetic force field on stage, with the rhythm section’s background in 2000s stoner rock providing the gel that holds it all together.

“That’s the heavy part, and then I can come in there and lay down my lead work however way I want,” Marczewski said. “And they just let me go, and then they will be right there with me.”

Cat Daddy’O creates a different atmosphere each time they play, Marczewski said.

“No song is ever the same every night,” he said. “We have a lot of fun. Money is always nice, but it is more about the fact that we love what we do.”

In addition to making the winery rounds, Cat Daddy’O will perform during the Carbondale Eclipse Marketplace festival Sunday, August 20 in the First Mid-Illinois Bank and Trust parking lot.

Cat Daddy’O also has a gig playing Saturday, September 2 under the beer tent during the Du Quoin State Fair.

Marczewski said he continues to enjoy how excited he gets every time he is ready to play. He adds that his other bandmates are just as pumped as he is when it is time to perform.

“To this day, I love the way it makes me feel. I hit the stage and I’m fired up,” he said. “I feel blessed to have been able to keep going as long as I can.”

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who Cat Daddy’O

what blues

where Blue Sky Vineyard and Winery

when Sunday, August 13

Sharon Clark Tribute: The Sunset Concerts Honor a Local Legend

The next Sunset Concert presents an opportunity for many local musicians to pay tribute to another.
Leah Williams
Video Comentary

The next Sunset Concert presents an opportunity for many local musicians to pay tribute to another.

The Sharon Clark tribute concert will take place Thursday, July 20 at the Turley Park Gazebo. Musicians scheduled to perform include Ivas John, Martin “Big Larry” Allbritton, Tawl Paul, Robbie Stokes, Richard “Rip Lee” Pryor, and Shadi Frick. John’s band, which includes Mel Goot, Charlie Morrill, and Jamie Pender, will back the rolling roster of blues musicians.

Clark died on January 13 at the age of sixty-six after struggling with cancer. Clark had a weekly jazz stint with Goot at Global Gourmet. She also was a featured performer on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail.

In 1971, Clark and her band, the Product of Time, recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee, a session that would result in two small hits, “I’m Not Afraid of Love” and “That’s a Good Reason. The former was featured on the soundtrack of the Netflix hit show Orange Is the New Black.

Other career highlights included working with Saint Louis blues legend Oliver Sain in the eighties and regularly touring Europe in the nineties. Clark played the Sestri Levante Blues and Soul Festival in 1996.

“I first met Sharon Clark back in 2004, and had the pleasure of playing with her many times over the years,” John said. “It goes without saying that she had a beautiful voice, but was also a kind and generous person who always had something nice to say. Like many others, I felt lucky to know her and have the experience of learning from her. She’ll be missed.”

John said the Sunset Concert is the best place for the Sharon Clark tribute because the summertime tradition is a draw for so many people.

John also said this one-of-a-kind Sunset Concert presents not just a chance for Southern Illinois to honor one of its own, but also to experience the living legends who still perform here.

“With so many great talents that are still living and calling Carbondale home, it seemed like an important time to bring together the music legends of Southern Illinois,” John said. “Some of them have been making music in this area since the seventies, but have never before been featured at a Sunset Concert like this, so it’s pretty exciting! And also a big honor to be included.”

John said if time allows, he could see the party going until the music runs out.

“There are so many great local musicians,” he said. “I wish the show went all night so we could get every last one of them on stage.”

John, meanwhile, saw his last album nominated for a Blues Blast award for acoustic blues album of the year.

“I’m playing guitar every day, learning new music all the time, writing, and squeezing in recording sessions where I can,” John said. “Having good help is key, and I’m lucky to have a great support network of fans, musicians that I play with, and people behind the scenes. Yeah, life is good!”

who: Ivas John Band and friends

what: Sunset Concert Series (Sharon Clark tribute, blues)

where: Turley Park Gazebo


when: Thursday, July 20

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