Stringing It Together
Catgut and Steel: the contemporary folk duo of Mike Moroney and Anna Bowen. Vocals, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and more. Catgut and Steel (named for the strings on their instruments) have a sound bigger and fuller than two musicians would normally command - yet they play all their own instruments and use no backing electronica of any kind. Their repertoire is amazingly eclectic from Celtic tunes to contemporary covers, klezmer to country, but always with the strong vocal harmonies and swinging rhythm styles for which they are renowned. With over 50 years of playing experience between them (and it\'s probably only fair to point out that most of those belong to the old fella) Mike and Anna come from diverse musical and geographical backgrounds. Anna was a stundent of classical violin in Holland where she lived until she emigrated to Australia and eventually, to New Zealand. Mike has always lived on the same hill in his hometown Dunedin and after the usual childhood piano lessons, discovered the guitar in his early teens, playing in rock bands (which he still does) and has been involved in the New Zealand folk scene since the early eighties. Mike and Anna teamed up through their involvement in the now defunct Pioneer Pog \'n\' Scroggin Bush Band. Mike also plays in the internationally renowned acoustic showband, The Chaps. Stringing it Together is their first release. Mike writes: \'Anna and I became great friends when she was six months pregnant and she reversed over my mandolin. We\'ve been playing together ever since. What we\'ve recorded here is a few of our favourite songs and tunes that we\'ve enjoyed playing together for seven or more years. What started out as a bit of a record of our practices grew into multi-tracked exercise and the thing started to take on a life of it's own. Some of these tracks have sat on my trusty old computer for three or more years waiting to be rendered into this album. Now I can finally retire the machine! 1)Hallelujah (L. Cohen) Recorded for Bede Beaumont, and dedicated to the memory of his wife, Jane, who died far too young and is sorely missed in the Dunedin music community. Mike: guitars, bass, vocals; Anna: fiddle, harmony vocals. 2)Foolish You (W. Hemsworth) One of the first songs that Anna and I learned together - from an album Kate and Anna McGarrigle, although we\'ve kicked up the tempo a bit.. Anna: fiddle, vocal, Mike: guitar, bass, mandolin, 5-string banjo, harmony vocals. 3)Brendan\'s Tunes. (Le 24 Juin/Reel Beatrice/unknown) A set of tunes we learned from the playing of Brendan Martin, a fabulous young fiddler of the renowned Martin family from the Isle of Skye. Le 24 Juin is a quadrille written by accordion player Philippe Bruneau. Reel Beatrice is attributed to fiddler Joseph Bouchard and the third tune we cannot find a name or source for at the time of writing. Mike, guitar, Anna, fiddle. 4)Walk Away Renee (Brown/Sansone/Calilli) A song that\'s been in my repertoire for many years and which Anna rounds out with her delicious fiddle lines and vocal harmonies. Mike: guitar, bass, vocals, Anna: fiddle, harmony vocals. 5)The Dreadful Wind and the Rain. The story of the Twa Sisters, originally recorded as the soundtrack for a story-telling album on which Anna features. Anna: fiddles, mandolin, vocals, Mike: bass, mandola, harmony vocals. 6)1952 Vincent Black Lightning (R. Thompson) A Catgut and Steel \'party piece\', this fantastic Richard Thompson song is our most requested number. Mike: guitar, bass, vocals, Anna: fiddle, harmony vocals. 7)Sophie\'s Waltz (M. Moroney) Written many years ago for the wedding of a young woman who lived in Larnach\'s Castle in Dunedin. Mike: guitar, mandolin, mandola, Anna: fiddle. 8)His Only Need (K. Loggins) Another song that\'s long been in my repertoire, lifted beautifully by Anna\'s playing and singing (and with a little help from my daughter). Mike: guitar, bass, vocals, Anna: fiddle, harmony vocals, Siobhan Moroney: high harmony vocals. 9)Jean\'s Reel (Bobby MacLeod)/Tongadale Reel (Farquhar MacDonald) A furious pair of reels we learned from brothers Ronan and Brendan Martin from the Isle of Skye. Mike: guitar, bass; Anna: fiddle. 10)New Year\'s Day (M. Moroney) A song I wrote years ago about the Whare Flat Folk Festival, held each new year near Dunedin; always a special time for us and our families. This song is dedicated to Bernadette. For nearly 30 years our life together has been punctuated by this festival, the overseas friends we\'ve made there who\'ve lingered with us for days, sometimes months, and who somehow remain in the fold. Ronan and Brendan were two, as was Liz Frencham who plays bass here. Mike: guitar, vocals, Anna, Bernadette and Siobhan Moroney, Sue Harkness: harmony vocals. Liz Frencham: upright bass.\'