Sat 6/16 @ 4-7PM
Denis DeVito is living life and loving it right now.
“It’s so weird, I’m 60 years old and I’m playing 100 gigs a year,” said the Cats On Holiday singer-guitarist-button box player. “Who would have ever thought that? We’re bigger and better than ever. I’m feeling prolific, for sure.”
That unbridled enthusiasm and optimism is directly tied to the band’s new studio effort Livin’ Life & Lovin’ It! For more than a quarter of a century, the roots-based, swamp-pop band has created its own special blend of Texas and Louisiana-inspired blues, rock, roots and zydeco.
The group’s upcoming fifth studio release continues the multi-genre approach, with DeVito saying the current Cats On Holiday lineup of Paul Kompier (guitar, vocals), Dillon DeVito (bass, vocals), Toby Packard (drums) and Jeffrey Bowen (congas, percussion, poetry) is something special.
“I think the band is maybe the best it’s ever been,” DeVito said. “I’ve had, obviously, many members over the years, but right now we’re laying a good groove. I had a batch of some new songs and old songs I never recorded, so the timing just felt right.”
The first new Cats On Holiday album in nearly a decade dabbles in everything from country and button box to ballads and jam-band rockers.
“We’re not stuck in one little world,” DeVito said. “For example, I’ve written many songs for a long time, but I never wrote one with the word love in it. I did that for new song ‘Aroma of Love,’ which I wrote about my wife Bonnie. We’ve been together for a long time. It’s a little bit more musical.
“I brought in Joe Hunter, the great jazz pianist in town. He just put the icing on the cake adding like a Ramsey Lewis piano to it. Who would ever have thought I would ever write a song that sounded like Ramsey Lewis?”
Over the decades, the Cats, who are regulars in Northeast Ohio, upstate New York and the Lake Erie Islands, have opened up for the likes of Tab Benoit, Beausoleil, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Buckwheat Zydeco, Carpenter Ants, the Iguanas, Los Lobos, NRBQ, Leon Russell, Terrance Simien and Three Dog Night.
DeVito said he has big plans for Livin’ Life & Lovin’ It! beginning with a CD release show Sat 6/16 on the lawn of The Harp. Looking ahead, he feels the new project has a life that may take the Cats on the road.
“This is the first album I want to get out with Spotify,” DeVito said. “I really feel I can get this heard outside of Cleveland. There are just so many cool tunes. I don’t think I’m naïve. I’ve been around, I know what’s good.”