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Tuck and Patti marry voice with electric guitar to create uplifting music.

Dynamic Duo

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When William "Tuck" Andress and Patti Cathcart first met in San Francisco in 1978, they appeared to have little in common. She'd sung with and arranged music for some of the Bay Area's best players. He was content to make the gigs with decent bands and to listen to music for 8 to 14 hours a day, perfecting his guitar technique in solitude. But from the first moments of the band audition where they met, each knew they had found a musical soul mate. They quickly hooked up as performing duo Tuck and Patti, and in 23 years they've never looked back. On Thursday, March 29, the duo brings its jazz-influenced blend of electric guitar and voice to Richmond.

From the beginning, Tuck and Patti found an audience. Even though disco was topping the charts at the time, the twosome won fans in Bay Area lounges with their original take on familiar songs by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix. For the next 10 years, the duo performed locally, holding off recording offers. Patti wrote new tunes, and Tuck delved deeper into chord relationships and harmonies. Now, seven CDs and numerous worldwide tours later, Patti says their success stems from the priorities they set at the start.

"We sat down early on to decide what to do," she explains by phone from her California home. "We decided we wanted to present uplifting and positive [music] … music that makes us feel good. It makes a difference."

Together and separately, Tuck and Patti have always maintained active musical lives. Patti grew up surrounded by all styles of music in a thriving early-'70s San Francisco scene. She says she never missed a Bay Area Hendrix show, and she helped found Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir's project band, Kingfish, while she jammed with a number of groups. Tuck moved to Los Angeles from his native Oklahoma to get nearer the music, eventually landing a gig as guitarist on the "Sonny and Cher" television show before moving on to a string of rock bands and intensive guitar study. Both knew music was the essence of their lives, but neither had found its best vehicle for expression until they met. Both say they are blessed by their encounter.

"I was always looking," Patti recalls of her search for the right musical partner. "The radar…[was] always up for something."

At first, their relationship was strictly professional, but as the music developed so did romance. Three years after meeting, the duo married. Now, they live life as one, devoted to pleasing themselves and their audiences with a positive musical energy that draws from a wide range of influences. The conscious effort to keep an upbeat approach to life and music keeps Tuck and Patti spiritually grounded in a tough business.

"The music [is] our focus," Patti says. "We're just having so much fun…Put the music first, the rest just comes along."





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