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The fundraiser held on the evening of September 30 at the Big Kahuna in Huntington, NY was filled with many talented acts joined together by an appreciation of music and support for fellow musicians. The event was organized by the headlining act, Carrie and The Cats! They are the winners of the 2018 International Blues Challenge and are representing Long Island this January at the national competition that will be held in Memphis TN.
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Carrie and The Cats are a ‘new-school’ blues band from Long Island, New York. They are led by the incredible talent of Carrie Lynn Wicks and feature Will “Wee Wee” Bart on guitar, Bill “Bad Bones” Hanley on tenor/alto Saxophone, Joe Conserva on bass, and Russ Benjamin on drums. The band had its start in early 2016. It channels the soul and passion of classic acts like the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, and Aretha Franklin, while adding a flair reminiscent of Amy Whinehouse and John Mayer Trio.
Throughout the evening there were contests held with gift baskets and raffles auctioned off, including two members of the band themselves. The money being raised is all going towards the many expenses accumulated to travel the five musicians and musical equipment over 1,000 miles from home to the Volunteer State.
In support of Carrie and The Cats, there were performances by:
The Proletarians, Good Luck Lapis, The Chris Ruben Band, Necter, and MJT. The Cats covered such ambitious songs including ‘I Feel Good (I Got You)’ by James Brown, ‘Hit the Road Jack’ by Ray Charles, ‘Hound Dog’ by Elvis Presley, and ‘Aint No Sunshine’ by Bill Withers. The crowd danced and applauded vigorously upon hearing these tunes played. The group also had some fantastic originals mixed in that exemplified their synchronization to one another and rooted influences. The originals performed that night were titled ‘Bad Company,’ ‘All Over Town,’ ‘Groove It,’ ‘Trapped Under Ice,’ ‘Gotta’ Go,’ ‘Don’t Know How,’ ‘Cross Roads,’ ‘No Peace in Me,’ and ‘Sunny Day.’
One in particular, that really harnessed the group’s essence and musicianship was Cross Roads. The song was a mid-tempo ’50s and 60’s inspired doo-wop and soul ballad with a rock edge. Guitar arpeggio, heavy sax and groovin’ beat filled the swells of the ballad. Carrie’s voice is very acrobatic, infusing controlled rasps with a beautiful high range. Her vocals resonated with the style of the king and queen of soul, as she belted and swayed to the music on stage. Bill and Will each shared the limelight with intricate and sustained power that came from their sax and guitar. Each of them soloed and improvised on numerous tracks and the audience held praise. Joe Conserva and Russ Benjamin delivered smooth backbone in rhythm support and a well mannered tempo, keeping the set running smoothly.
Here is a glimpse of their performance during the night.
Carrie and the Cat’s music and EP ‘All Over Town‘ can be found on all major music streaming services Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud.
The group is extremely excited and grateful for the awesome experience and if you wish to help them raise money in an effort to hit their goal, you can! Donate here. Any amount helps and donations over $15 include a signed copy of The Cat’s album, opportunities to hear them perform and a chance to book them to play a full length set at any event.
For more info visit their website.