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"Went to play cards, brought our guitars, drank a little whiskey and now were playing in bars....sounds like a song. Shoulda never kissed the Blarney Stone!,
         
Denis Ryan

Pictured: Andre Allen, Bob Mensinga, John Ruff, Joe Doctor, Colleen Henry, John Williams, Denis Ryan, Jim Harmening  we played at Orland Park Commissioners Dinner

It's amazing the trouble you can cause yourself when you are having a good time! The Catalina Cool Cats were born when a group of neighborhood guys from Orland Park went away for a weekend card game in Indiana. It was August of 2016 and someone suggested we bring our guitars. Although some of us had tried to play their instruments over the years you could see the years of working and providing for families had left us a little rusty.

One of the guys John Williams suggested we come to his house the following Wednesday and try a few chords. His kids had a band called Vision in the Rhythm and they were very talented. It was amazing; by the end of the night we were playing Hotel California and Freebird. A few more sessions and the next thing you know we had a gig!

We were booked to open for Vision in the Rhythm at a Chinese restaurant in Orland Park on the eve of Christmas Eve.  We were a group of 50 something year old dads! We’d never done anything like that before and I thought how cool is this! We were opening for Vision in the Rhythm, I said we had to learn an Elvis song for our set because it was about as close to a Christmas Story as we were going to get.

Tax season came and we had to take a hiatus, John was a CPA, but as soon as the April deadline passed we were back at it. We added more songs to our repertoire and we were able to play an hour long set. We kept adding more songs and started going to The House of Music in Orland Hills and Homer Glen where we could perfect our songs. We were playing at a block parties, backyard gatherings but we wanted to take it to another level.
The House of Music helped us perform our songs better, how to end them and where we needed additional vocals or harmonies.

When my mother was dying in April of 2017 I had to call my sister who had been estranged from my mom. I said you got to come home to say goodbye. I had tears in my eye when I hung up the phone but like a true Irishman I wrote a song called “I Came Home to Say Goodbye”. One of the verses goes like this “Through the miles, through the year, through the sorrow and through the tears, a mother’s love will never die, that’s why I came home to say goodbye”.

I told the guys I’d written this song and they helped arrange it. My mother hadn’t been gone but 2 weeks when we played it for the first time. I thought this song has great dynamics and great flow. I thought this is one of those songs that could be a mega hit. Each time we played it somehow a shot of whiskey appeared. We played it a lot of events and about a year after my mother passed we recorded the song at the House of Music. That night a bottle of 12 year old Tullamore Dew appeared, I remember thinking how proud she would be as we were making a recording. You can find it on Soundcloud/ House of Music/ Catalina Cool Cats.

Our band is unique; we live in Orland Park, in a subdivision called Catalina. I live in the middle of the block, our bass player Andre lives on the corner, Bob one of the guitarists lives across the street, Jim our drummer live about 4 doors down, John who plays the sax live on that corner. John our guitarist lives a block away and Joe our keyboard player lives 2 blocks away. Our kids all went to the same school and we added a female vocalist Colleen whose mother taught all of our kids. We have a lot of fun playing, watching the people dance and having a good time.

We’re a little country, we’re a little rock and roll, we play the blues and we play some soul. We put this band together to play all the songs you know. We’re the Catalina Cool Cats we hope you enjoy our show.

For a group of 50 something I think you’d like the way they roll, after all they are The Catalina Cool Cats. To book the band contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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