"Mind-altering performance by an artist you probably haven't heard of. Go see Cat Madden and her band ASAP.
I walked into the Rio Theatre last Friday in blissful unawareness of what I was about to see. I sat down in between a friend and a stranger and waited the second act to begin. Lights went down and within about 90 seconds my jaw hit the floor.
The understated yet undeniable confidence of the very capable band along with Cat's songwriting and major vocal talent congealed to form a rock solid entity greater that the sum of its parts. Killer chemistry and effortless swagger which gave the impression that these motherfuckers could melt your face in their sleep. Cat's songs always kept me guessing and at different times in the set I was reminded of artists as diverse as Little Feat, Frank Zappa, Alice in Chains, Yes and Soundgarden, with a surprise Tony Banks synth solo in there for good measure.
There was a particularly epic moment in the set when I felt myself welling up and looked over at my friend to see tears on his face too. I look over at the woman beside me. More tears. After the song I asked if she had seen Cat's band before and she somewhat hysterically says "we've never even heard of her, I can't believe we get to see this before everyone else does". It wasn't just me who felt that way about this performance.
Despite plenty of dynamic and quieter moments there wasn't a second of lull in the set and after it was done I had to sit there to let it soak in a bit. The only way I can describe the feeling is that it was as if I had just watched Hendrix at Monterey in '67.
I understand that not everyone will get this like I did but I implore any music fan to go check her out with this band. It's more slam-you-to-your-seat music than get-up-and-dance-music so if getting rocked into stunned silence isn't your thing then there's a chance you'll think I'm off my rocker, but as far as I'm concerned anyone who appreciates raw talent and musical cohesion needs to see this act in a small venue while you still can.
Dan Sveinson - Brass Camel
"I jumped at the chance to work with Cat Madden... She genuinely shines with her craft, wit and intelligence, and it has continued to impress me (and my colleagues in the industry) greatly"
(Mavis Harris - Nice Marmot PR)
"Cat is a powerhouse singer and gifted songwriter - she blurs the line between rock, soul and jazz so eloquently."
(Nygel Asselin - NYG Productions)
"Cat's voice is like an opera singer mixed with a Husqvarna chainsaw..."
(Mike - The Gas Station)
"Cat’s original songs are poignant, personal and powerful. We knew we had to have Cat and her band play the first Squamish Constellation Festival... She was fantastic"
(Tamara Stanners - 100.5 The Peak)
“To hear Madden sing, it's hard to believe there was a time when she didn't give it everything she's got. Her vocals are beyond powerful and it's a wonder she can sing with so much heart and soul gig after gig.”
(Kirsten Andrews - Director of Aquila Productions)
“ Imagine sitting in an underground bar in New York captivated by every single note… fantastic voice… we’ll be following you!”
(Graeme and Richard - BBC UK)
"I’ll never forget the force behind her voice... and everyone in that room, who were seated and eating, stopped and listened to Cat’s raw talent"
(Darren - 107.1 MountainFM)
“...as soon as she starts to sing, she just dominates your attention and becomes the biggest thing in the room. Her voice is incredibly powerful.”
(Ross - Purplecamera.co.uk)
“Her voice is like an opera singer mixed with a Husqvarna chainsaw” – the words of a bleary eyed gas station attendant from Squamish, the morning after a Cat Madden set. Perhaps this unique tone stems from a childhood spent with a rock, punk and ska enthusiast for a father (Madness, The Specials, Blondie, Who, Clash, Beat, Jam) and a mother in love with French classical composers; Debussy, Ravel and Erik Satie.
As a teenager, Cat became more acquainted with folk artists like The Cranberries, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy, and was particularly captivated by the poeticism of Laura Marling, quickly coming to know the British songwriter’s catalogue as if it were her own.
Most weeks the Madden family would educate themselves by watching “Later… with Jools Holland”. One night, on the show, as she watched a mesmerizing solo performance by KT Tunstall of ‘Black Horse and The Cherry Tree’, something clicked…
A 13-year old Cat watched in awe, then vowed: “I’m gonna do that”. The more she explored her musicality, the more she was encouraged to pursue it by her family, her peers… by everyone.
Cat moved to London to study and perform as many forms of music as possible – Stevie Ray Vaughn’s blues, Al Jearreau’s jazz and George Clinton’s pizazz. She was mentored by great teachers like cellist Audrey Riley and vocalists David Combes and Vic Bynoe. People who can count Blur, Foo Fighters, Elton John, Eric Clapton and James Brown among their collaborators.
Her sound and passion for songwriting was emerging from a musical melting pot. Yet, during this time, Cat was crippled by a seemingly endless lack of self-confidence when it came to performing. See her on stage today and you would never guess that, as a budding artist, she “would hide behind her guitar”, run off stage and cry for the fear of playing to a crowd.
If only an early-20s Cat had known that Canada beckoned and that this is where she would finally dropkick performance anxiety in its metaphorical gonads.
Canada was a fresh start. A thousand miles from her comfort zone, Cat pushed herself to perform at karaoke nights, which she says “saved her life”, then open-mic nights and eventually collaborated with artists, venues and companies spanning from Vancouver to Washington DC.
She started her own company “Cat Madden Music” and now works primarily as a performing artist, composer and vocal coach.
Her biggest achievement may have been when she was asked by Tamara Stanners and Kirsten Andrews to perform at the inaugural Squamish Constellation Festival alongside Begonia, Serena Ryder and Half Moon Run.
Cat has performed adjacent to Old Soul Rebel and regularly plays at The Railway alongside good friend Emily Molloy, with Five Alarm Funk and other Vancouver bands supporting them from the crowd.
She has played at several BC festivals including WSSF, The Great Okanagan Beer Festival, Wind Festival, and venues like LanaLous, Guilt & Company and 150+ other shows across BC. Cat’s original songs won her the Whistler Music Search, placed her in the top ten for VANJAM2020 and have been featured by Whistler FM, Mountain FM, The Pique, Global TV, CBC, SHAW TV and the BBC.
Her versatility as a session vocalist has landed her gigs with countless notable figures and companies including Canadian Music Week’s Gary Taylor and Paul Emerson of CompanyE.
Cat has cemented her place in the community of Squamish; her home. She volunteers and supports several groups including the Whistler and Squamish Art’s Council, Howe Sound Woman’s Centre, the Squamish PRIDE committee and now works with Under One Roof at the Squamish food-bank on Friday mornings. She has helped transitioning women through her vocal coaching work and taught many students privately or in schools.
Today Cat’s dream is to exude confidence and create joy; “to be honest and blow people’s minds”. She dreams about taking her captivating stage show on tour to the world’s most interesting and beautiful places, to continue using her work to raise awareness for the social issues close to her heart, and that her music helps as many people as possible in their pursuit for happiness; whether that’s one stellar moment being touched by her music or a lyrical message that stays with them their entire lives.
"Cat's voice is like an opera singer mixed with a Husqvarna chainsaw..." Incredibly powerful vocals intertwined with expressive, calculated lyrics. Cat’s songs "blur the lines between rock, soul and jazz so eloquently”. Her band effortlessly transfer you from finger clickin' swing to woodstock-era influenced Rock. If you are seeking a talent filled and unforgettable live show that encapsulates an eclectic mix of classic styles… then meet Cat Madden!
"Cat's voice is like an opera singer mixed with a Husqvarna chainsaw..." for an unforgettable live show.. meet Cat Madden!