Fayetteville Music Legends Go Live

Fayetteville Music Legends Go Live
Courtesy Photo Earl and Them is (from left to right) Terry Cagle, Earl Cate, Jason Davis and John Davies.

Courtesy Photo
Earl and Them is (from left to right) Terry Cagle, Earl Cate, Jason Davis and John Davies.

With a lifetime of performing live music across the world, Fayetteville greats Earl Cate and his band Them are dropping their first live album this weekend at George’s Majestic Lounge, a venue they’ve been playing since the 70s.

Recorded with the help of Adam Putnam on May 17, 2013, at George’s Majestic Lounge, Earl Cate (guitar, vocals) Terry Cagle (drums, vocals) Jason Davis (guitar, vocals), and John Davies (bass) were joined by old friends Jimmy Thackery (guitar) and David Renko (saxophone) to share the stage together to get their rock n’ roll on.

Every musician on the album jams like there’s no tomorrow. Many of the songs feature fiery, extended solos from Thackery, Renko and Cate. It just sounds like a lot of fun, as well as audible chemistry between the band members.

“I feel good that we’re doing this. Earl’s a great guitar player, and he’s a legend,” said Mark Risk, executive producer for the album. “He’s still cranking music out and he’s 72 years old now. He’s still about as good as ever. I’m glad we were able to capture some of his music at this stage of the game.”

The result is an impressive two-disc album of old school blues and rock n’ roll, and it just sounds like a bunch of super talented friends having a hell of a good time on stage together. In addition to a few originals by Thackery and Cate, the group covers songs in their own style by The Band, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones and Bill Withers among others. For their rendition of The Band’s “The Weight,” Cate’s daughter Dawn Cate joins in with her soulful vocals to make it an extra special highlight on the second CD.

Earl and Them will be celebrating the release of their new album with a CD Release Party at George’s Majestic Lounge on March 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. Everybody but Jimmy Thackery will be there to tear it up once again. Afterwards, the Irie Lions will be playing there that evening.

“(The live album is) pretty cool, it was high energy,” Cate said. “It ended up being more of a jam thing than a record. It was a spur of the moment descision. We said, heck we can just do a record like this and remix it at the studio. There’s more energy when you have an audience. Some of the songs are 12 minutes long with us playing solos. It makes it different than a studio album.”

Cate and his twin brother Ernie — who has since retired, thus ending The Cate Brothers and spawning Earl and Them in 2011 — are likely the most successful group to come out of Fayetteville. Back in the 70s, when the band was in their prime, they toured with The Grateful Dead, Queen and Fleetwood Mac, among others. The Cate Brothers and Cagle even performed with The Band in the 80s while on tour in Japan.

Cagel, who formerly drummed in the Cate Brothers, is nephew to the late Arkansas legend Levon Helm, and sings “Ophelia” on the album just like Levon.

Cate has seen a lot of things change in rock n’ roll and Fayetteville.

“The biggest thing is the way music is marketed. It’s mostly digital now,” he said. “Vinyl is getting a comeback with collectors. Back then you had FM radio and they’d play album cuts when you came to town. When we toured with Queen, we were hitting major stations. We hit every market. That really got us up there as well as the exposure of playing with them live. Now-a-days it’s not like that so much. Kinda like the old days though, it’s not the record company. It’s the power of the people who manage the bands and who they know. I think the rule still applies, the cream rises to the top.”

Cate also said he’s disappointed in the lack of live music venues downtown Fayetteville has now compared to in the past.

“The area’s bigger for sure, so there’s more musicians and bands,” he said. “But there’s not enough venues and now the town’s not as supportive of live music. There used to be more places to play. I don’t know why that is. I guess the bars just sell food and beer and don’t care about music. People just aren’t supporting it. At George’s it’s a tradition.”

Those looking to buy the live album can find it online for $20 at earlandthem.com, swingindoorrecords.com or cdbaby.com.

Categories: Galleries