City Where She Sleeps...
Recognized as an emerging singer-songwriter on the national scene, Cat Terrones has pursued contemporary music and her own songwriting in various formats throughout her career (blues, jazz, celtic-world) and currently as a recording artist and folk singer/songwriter. For Cat, identifying as a folk musician is her true home, "being a folk musician means that I welcome all nourishing influences, honor the lineage by carrying the traditions forward, and allow multiple influences to inhabit a single artistic orbit." Cat's music seamlessly blends contemporary Americana, Folk, and Celtic-American styles with World and Jazz influences.
Recently, Cat has been recognized in songwriting contests for songs from her upcoming collaboration album 'Sun & Dark' with Collaborator/Producer, Ben Shannon (guitars/vocals), and Producer/Engineer, Dave Hidek (percussion). A release date for the album is in the works.. Catherine's current release, Forget Me Not (2014, EP), is available on Bandcamp. Forget Me Not and California Daughter, two tracks off her EP, garnered her the songwriting honor of becoming a Kerrville New Folk Finalist in 2014.
As a graduate from Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB, with an emphasis in Voice, Catherine studied voice on scholarship in the classical performance program. She explored the path of a classical choral and solo performance major. Classical music, although a wonderful influence, was not her first love, and once her diploma was in hand Catherine began to hone her talents in popular, folk, and original music exclusively.
"Celtic music influences me, very heavily. I grew up as a young kid and into my early twenties, around a very active Welsh music community. Music, and particularly vocal music, harmony singing, is a very consistent part of life and connection to culture, a connection to 'home'... for these Welsh folks transplanted in the the diaspora of Los Angeles. I had no idea at the time I was getting an education in vocal harmony singing, in exquisite melodic shapes, how to pronounce words in Welsh (could come in handy if cast in a Lord of the Rings movie!) and in Celtic culture. From 8-18 years of age I was basically soaking it all in. I just really liked that 'church' consisted of A LOT of singing. And I loved tea and welsh cakes afterward. It took me getting into my 20's to realize what a unique, influential, and serendipitous experience that was for me. And then my mothers influence of American folk music, literature, and art. Without my mom I probably wouldn't be a musician because she insisted I learn an instrument, and that taught me a great deal. I was a very shy singer when I was young. I'd never agreed to sing a solo until I was 17, in high school, encouraged by my friends in jazz band and drama to audition for singing parts. I was always surrounded by lots of good artistic nourishment.
Celtic folk music, of almost every region, allows for the land or nature as a character of influence in a story. There is always the connection to The Land. That tends to come through heavily in my songs. I'm a daughter of the Americas and there is that quality of The Land in my consciousness of 'home', in my sense of story, and certainly from my characters perspectives. I'm not always writing from my character as a girl born and raised in a beach town in Los Angeles. Sometimes I have to dig through the layers and come at it from a different angle, or just become someone else all together. I come from a long line of women artists; actresses, musicians, painters, writers (some professional, some not), and there's a shapeshifting quality that I love about telling stories from different perspectives. As a singer-songwriter I get to write all these mini monologues, or mini-plays.
Musically though, I know a large strata of my melodic and vocal harmony is influenced by my Welsh roots, and my time singing a lot of Irish music. And that also goes back to something deeper in Americana music and in Appalachian music; there was a lot of Scottish and Irish, but there was also a lot of Welsh people who settled in Appalachia and in the South. In many parts of the Americas the first peoples, native peoples, were blended into the culture in many ways, the influences that African Americans, Latin American music had on music in the Americas. Are all life-giving forces, and you can't leave any of that out. At least I can't, and I won't pretend to. It all influenced me musically. But there are some things that get lost, or blended. And, when talking about the Welsh influence, unless you've had direct experience with the living tradition of Welsh music, or you're a ethnomusicologist, then it might go undetected. In American music in general, and specifically it kinda flies under the radar in my style. But it's unmistakable to me. I know right where that sound comes from, I can sing you melodies or harmonies in my songs, and then sing a Welsh hymn.... and you'd get it I think, some of the similarities, the roots.
Once I hit my teens, I rebelled a bit and Irish music became a big influence. People used to always ask me if I was of Irish decent and, just because how my family history was recounted, I was not aware of it until just a few years ago, so I would always laugh and say no. But I had this innate and very strong draw towards the music. And contemporary Irish singer-songwriters. The first time I listened to Sinead O'Connor's whole album, I was probably that magic age of 13. I didn't know what to call it, I didn't know there was a 'job description' or a vocation for what she was doing...but I wanted to do THAT. It took me until 18 to start to blend the singing and the songwriting, I wrote my first full songs on a guitar I bought with graduation gift money. I wanted to write my own songs, and sing them. And I also wanted to be bold, to dare to be more than what was expected. Just writing your own song and singing it, no matter how sweet, beautiful, funny, or sad, it feels pretty bold. To share something very personal in a universal format, 'in front of god and everyone' as my Granny would say, and hopefully connect with others. That's bold in our culture."