Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are a formidable powerhouse of sound, with a repertoire of traditional and contemporary folk, old-time country and swing music. Their superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on the acoustic & electric guitar, five-string banjo, mandolin, cello banjo, ukulele, percussion and many other instruments. Back from a European tour with Tom Paxton, they will be coming to St. Mary’s County for the PJMA 5th Annual Guitar Festival on March 11th. (see www.pjma.info for more details)
Cathy Fink was born in Maryland, but began her musical career in Canada in the early 1970s, busking and playing folk music in coffeehouses. A singer, guitarist, banjo player and yodeler, she made her recording debut in 1975 with Duck Donald, with whom she toured for five years and recorded three albums.
Marcy Marxer grew up in Swartz Creek, Michigan and learned to play guitar, mandolin, hammered dulcimer and button accordion while still in high school. She went to work for General Motors but continued to play at every opportunity. In 1978, after receiving theater training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Ringling Brothers Clown College, she devoted herself to music full-time.
The two met in 1980, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at the Mariposa Folk Festival. Marcy was playing in an all-women’s string band called “the Bosom Buddies.” Cathy was touring solo at the time. They were in a few workshops together and in the evenings back at the hotel, they gravitated to the same late night jam sessions.
By 1983 they had begun writing songs together and appearing on each other’s albums. Soon after, they began performing together, often in children’s concerts. In 1989, they released a self-titled album, and the partnership became complete.
In the years since, the duo has released a number of albums, including “Nobody Else Like Me”, “A Voice in the Wind” and “Changing Channels”. They have been nominated for 11 GRAMMY® awards, including their CDs, 2003 “Postcards” and 2008 “Banjo Talkin’ in the Best Traditional Folk Album category. They captured their first Grammy Award in 2004 for their children’s album “Bon Appetit” and won their second in 2005 as producers and artists for “Celebration: A Tribute to Ella Jenkins”. They produced and performed on Tom Paxton’s GRAMMY® nominated “Live in the UK” CD and tour. Tom says, “Cathy & Marcy are at home in a dozen musical styles. They swing you, jazz you, and old timey you till you just give up and bliss out”.
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer have released their 44th album in 2015, a tribute to diverse families, “Dancin’ In the Kitchen”. The album of 15 songs features award-winning guest artists. They gathered some amazing musical friends, including Cowboy Yodelers Riders in The Sky, Celtic Divas Cherish The Ladies, Cajun All-Stars The Savoy Family Band, Identical Twins The Canote Brothers, R&B Heroes The Tommy Lepson Band,and more. They’ve written new songs, including a song co-written with Cathy & Woody Guthrie. They are credited with writing over 200 songs! (check out their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CommunityMusic)
What do The Savoy Family Cajun Band, Pete Seeger, Riders in the Sky, Si Kahn, Brave Combo, Mariachi Los Camperos, Mike Seeger, Patsy Montana, Tim O’Brien, Hot Rize and Ysaye Barnwell all have in common? They have all worked with Cathy & Marcy in the studio. Their skills have led to producing over 60 recordings by and with other artists, and to projects with National Geographic, AT&T, McGraw-Hill School Publishing, Handwriting Without Tears and numerous corporate clients who appreciate roots music values. Individually and together, they’ve created and produced a series of instructional materials and videos ranging from guitar and ukulele for kids to how to sing harmony.
Marcy is an amazing instrumentalist who seems to be able to pick up almost any instrument and play it. She’s a virtuoso on electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin, ukulele, cello banjo, Latin percussion and more. She plays steel drums, hammered dulcimer, tenor banjo, cittern, and the list goes on. She’s got a voice like an angel and writes complicated and clever songs. Her production skills are intense and Marcy’s got a great sense of creative arrangements.
Cathy is a beautiful banjo player and a very solid rhythm guitar player. Saying a guitar player is solid is highest praise. She can sing any style and make you think she grew up in it. As a writer her playful side is as deep as her serious side. Cathy is also a prolific writer.
The C. F. Martin Company honored Cathy & Marcy’s musical achievements by creating a signature guitar for each of them, the M3H Cathy Fink Custom Signature Edition and the MC3H Marcy Marxer Custom Signature Edition.
Cathy & Marcy have performed at hundreds of bluegrass and folk festivals, appeared on the “Weekend Today Show”, “CBS Early Show”, National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered”. The duo has toured worldwide from Japan to New Zealand, Vancouver to New York and everywhere in between. American Voices Abroad chose Cathy & Marcy to perform in China, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for the U.S. Department of State. They’ve performed at the White House Easter Egg Roll, appeared on National Public Radio, won several songwriting awards and have been acknowledged for their work with children in the Congressional Record.
Cathy & Marcy will support our guitar workshop with their instrument techniques for all levels mixing Banjo, Ukulele and Guitar.
Billboard Magazine sums it up well for what Cathy & Marcy has in store for PJMA’s 5th Annual Guitar Fest: “As close to flawless folk/bluegrass as it gets.”
Come with your guitar at 2 PM to 4 PM for the Guitar Workshop with Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer and stay around for the Guitar Concert and Art Show at 7 PM to 11 PM. The featured performances are by local guitar artists Longman Joseph Norris, and Dylan Galvin. The opening acts are Jessica St. Clair, David Flood, Josh Riley, and Brandon Aksteter. All ages are welcome. The festival will be held at the 5 South Event Center, 21030 Point Lookout Road, Callaway, Maryland 20620. The festival is sponsored by the Maryland State Arts Council and the St. Mary’s County Arts Council. For further information, go to www.PJMA.info or call 240-925-8659.