Singer / songwriter / guitarist/ blues bass player, Catya wrote her first song at the age of 8. She began performing professionally in her early twenties and, before moving to Wisconsin, worked in clubs all over New England, the Southwest, and Northern California. She's played gigs with Darrell Nulisch, Jon Ross, Brian Templeton & Kid Bangham, Chuck "The Cat" Morris, The Paramounts, The Short Brothers, and various other acts in New England. In the Greater Upper Mississippi Valley area, she's gigged with Howard Luedtke, Lucas Fischer, David Jones & the Jones Tones, The Sue Orfield Band, The Lucy Creek Blues Band, Tim Caswell, Poppy Moeller, Joe T. Cook & the Longshots, R4, and her own bands: Catya’s Trio, CODE BLUE, and Feral Cats.
In addition to writing, singing, playing, and sometimes living the Blues, Catya writes and performs a mix of original and traditional swing, jazz,
contemporary acoustic music, and some other wacky stuff you can't easily categorize.
Catya ~ vocals: All tracks
Catya ~ Guitar: All tracks except 8
Catya ~ Fender Bass: Tracks 1,2,3,4,5,7,8,9,10,11,12
Sue plays the tenor saxophone with the whimsy of Sonny Rollins, the passion of Kurt Cobain, the soul of Bill Withers, and the joy of Ella Fitzgerald. Along with a compelling mastery of her instrument, Sue brings to the stage a powerful presence and joy of all things musical. Sue has played with many musical greats over the years, including Bo Diddley, Bobby McFerrin, The Indigo Girls, Ann Wilson (Heart), Dizzy Gillespie, Ivan Neville, Jo Dee Messina, among others. She tours internationally with several groups, including The Tiptons Sax Quartet (formerly The Billy Tipton Memorial Saxophone Quartet) (Seattle/NYC), and Ellen Whyte (Portland). Sue was voted "Best Horn" by the Washington Blues Society for the years 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Her own group, The Sue Orfield Band (SOB), highlights Orfield's talents as a composer as well as a player. SOB was voted Best Jazz Band in Volume One's "Best Of The Chippewa Valley 2009" reader poll (Eau Claire, WI). Sue makes her home in the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin, and plays locally with bands from all over Wisconsin and Minnesota, including CODE BLUE, AcoustiHoo, The Chippewa Valley Jazz Orchestra, Catya's Trio, Willie Walker And The Butanes, Deep Water Reunion, Combo Flambe, and many more...
John started playing guitar over 35 years ago. Since relocating from his hometown of Rochester to Minneapolis MN, John has become a highly-respected fixture on the Twin Cities Blues scene. He's played with The Hip Shakers, The Joel Johnson Band, Joe T. Cook & The Longshots, Blue Diamonds, Boom Boom Steve V. & The Knockouts, and has been featured on many recordings with these artists. With Joe T. Cook, John was chosen by the local Blues Society to represent Minnesota in the 2004 International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN. John has shared the stage with such notables as Kim Wilson, Mojo Buford, Lynwood Slim, Gary Primich, Reverend Raven, Billy Flynn, Mitch Woods, Sena Ehrhardt, Jon Ross, Boom Boom Steve V & the Knockouts, Bruce McCabe and Rich Poor Men, and Lisa Wenger. John is the first call lead player for a number of regional bands, including Lisa Wenger's band, and Catya's 5-piece band: Code Blue.
Dan Schwalbe Dan started playing guitar when he was 12 years old. In the 70s, he played in Acme Rhythm Band with Brian Carley. Later he was mentored by Lazy Bill Lucas, Sonny Rodgers, Mojo Buford, Percy Strothers, Baby Doo Caston, Steve Kilbride, and Joel Johnson. During the past decades, he has performed and/or recorded with numerous bands and performers, including Mojo Buford, Lazy Bill Lucas, Lynwood Slim, Blues Deluxe, Bobby Johnson, RJ Mischo, Billy Boy Arnold, Crazy Legs, Snooky Pryor, Cool Disposition, Texas Red, the Big George Jackson Blues Band, and Dwight Dario. Currently, Dan is performing with Javier & The Innocent Sons, and his own band, Rockin' Daddy and the Rough Cuts. He’s also played in bands that opened for the Thunderbirds and Rod Piazza. This year, Dan was inducted into the Minnesota Blues Society’s 2012 Hall of Fame for his guitar work in the Blues Sideman category!
~ Guitar: Tracks 3,5,7
Dan recorded his tracks at Barking Jack Studio in North St Paul, MN.
Randy Sinz Randy Sinz first started playing bass at the age of 12 in his father’s band, Jerry Sinz and his Dairyland Ranchhands. After touring the United States in the 70’s, Randy settled in Western Wisconsin--singing and playing bass with a number of popular groups including The Cadillac Cowboys, Tequila Sage and Southern Serenade. Today in addition to singing and playing upright and electric bass with Code Blue, he also performs with Catya's Trio, the Sue Orfield Band, AcoustiHOO, Deep Water Reunion, RADA DADA, Ranger Rudy & the Swingin' Wingtips, and Big Butt & the Brewmasters.
~ Upright Bass: Tracks 6,13,14
Robb Stupka Robb, on the drum throne with the Twin Cities based band The Butanes, has backed a parade of nationally acclaimed artists. He's also one of the stable of veteran musicians who make up Severn Records' house band and in that role has backed even more of Blues greats! He's consistently acclaimed for his work with all sorts of illustrious musicians, such as:
Luther Allison, Bernard Allison, Darrel Nulisch, Johnny Lang, Otis Grand, Steve Guyger, Johnny Moeller, The Tom Hunter Band, Hoopsnakes, and many more.
Robb has been a finalist, multiple times, for Blues Foundation's Blues Music Awards (AKA the W.C. Handy Awards). In 2012, Robb was inducted the Minnesota Blues Society's Blues Hall of Fame in the Blues Sideman category!
Rich Sickels RG Sickels is a drummer, singer, and songwriter currently living in Phoenix, Arizona. Born and raised in the farm country of Southwest Iowa, Rich earned his stripes in the bike bars of the Great Plains and the dance halls of Texas with pioneering roots rockers the Last Band on Earth. From there he graduated to Nashville, honing his craft in the studio and on tour. He has traveled the US, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean with dozens of notable acts, including legendary country outlaw David Allan Coe and honky-tonk hero Mickey Gilley. Returning to the Midwest, Rich became a charter member of groundbreaking Minneapolis alt-country act Buffalo Alice before moving on to Wisconsin icons the Nielsen White Band and Bear Creek Band. While in Wisconsin, Rich was a founding father of the Love Buzzards blues band and the Blues on the Chippewa music festival. In 2012 Rich resettled in Phoenix, Arizona, where he currently plays for retro soul group One Heart and all-original Southern rockers Blackwater in addition to freelance stage and studio work. He was inducted into the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame in the fall of 2010.
~ Drums: Tracks 3,6,7,8,11,12
Rich's 1940s Radio King Drums ~ All tracks
(For the historians among you: The tubs were formerly Jon Ross')
Mike Vlahakis Mike, as the keyboard player, toured with blues artist Luther Allison, and his son Bernard Allison, for a combined total of 12 years. While he was recording and performing with Luther Allison, Mike was the recipient of three W.C. Handy awards for “Best Blues Band," two years in a row! Mike received another one as recently as 2011, for best DVD for Songs From the Road which was made from a recording of a live performance in Montreal, Canada. Mike also toured as a Musical Director for MCA artist, Giorge Pettus, opening for 10 weeks for Whitney Houston. Mike toured nationally until the Eighties when he settled in Eau Claire, WI, where Mike performs with area musicians. In Eau Claire, he set up his recording studio: SoundWorks Studio.
Curtis Blake Harmonica master, Curtis Blake, recollects that when he was 13, “an old blues musician walked by with a six-pack from the local package store…He saw my harmonica and taught me a few harp licks as well. I wish I knew his name. That was the beginning...” When he was 20, Curtis was hanging out and jamming at Lazy Bill Lucas’ place. There he met and played with Mojo Buford, Jo Jo Williams, Odell (bass player), and Sonny "Cat Daddy" Rodgers. Sonny Rodgers and the Cat Scratchers won the W.C. Handy Award in 1991, largely because of Curtis’ extraordinary harp playing. Curtis is annually featured at the "Blues Harmonica Extravaganza" in Minneapolis. He performed at the Chicago Blues Festival and Kingston Mines with Jimmy Johnson, and as a featured artist with Charlie Love. Curtis has recorded with Percy Strother, Bobby Johnson, Lady Blue, and Mojo Buford. He performs with Curtis Blake Band, Greazy Gravy, Barbara Leshoure and The Brothers Curtis. His most recent CD, by Curtis Blake & Don Scott, is Sure Thing . Check it out! In 2011, Curtis was inducted the Minnesota Blues Society's Blues Hall of Fame in the Blues Sideman category! Curtis is a veritable tone master on his harmonica!
~ Harmonica: Track 10
Curtis recorded his track at Barking Jack Studio in North St Paul, MN.