Tin Cat

Tin Cat

 San Jose, California, USA

Power folk: Three guys from California playing funky, melodic original songs on modern and traditional instruments. Pick any three of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Simon, Garfunkel, Lennon, McCartney, Wonder, Womack, and some guy with an accordion.


It's not quite folk music, though it's folks that are playing it. It's not quite power pop, though it's got power and people like it. Let's call it power folk. It's what happened to Tin Cat when they shrank from a five-piece rock band to a drum-free trio. It could happen to anyone.

So they're mellower than most rock bands, but funkier than most folk acts. They're playing Beatles songs, but with a mandolin groove on top. They're inspired by Bill Withers and Bill Monroe, Steve Earle and Steely Dan. They're playing country songs with electric pianos, Irish airs with electric guitars.

Watch the bass: At a typical performance you might see it in Tom Gewecke's hands while Erik Ostrom sings "Over Ilsa," about an unrequited love for a fictional character. Later it goes to Dave Allender while Erik picks up the mandolin for Tom's rueful, truthful "Out of the Hat." Maybe Erik plays the bass on Dave's soulful interplanetary waltz, "Mars." If you're lucky, the bass takes a break for a while as the band plays Stevie Wonder's funky classic "Boogie On Reggae Woman" on guitar, accordion, and ukelele. Things move around a lot.

All the while, it's held together by the band's love of strong melodies and rhythmic grooves, by a loose attitude toward tight arrangements, and by the singing. All three members sing their own material and sing along with each other's. It's how the band started out, in a way, at an open mike, with Erik helplessly compelled to sing along in the audience every time Dave and Tom played their song "Travis". Now he sings along on stage.

Mixing acoustic and electric, modern and traditional, rock and folk (and soul, and reggae, and blues, and country, and whatever other shiny object catches their collective eye), Tin Cat is making its own sound. Let's call it power folk. We've got to call it something.

On "The Long Way," Tin Cat is joined by former bandmates Meredith Edgar (guitar and vocals) and Evan Bautista (drums), as well as the finger snaps and sax attacks of producer/pal Cameron De Palma.


Losing Streak

Written By: Erik Ostrom

Daisy I'm leaving your shadow behind
In the room where you stood when you told me your mind
Was made up, you were leaving and
Nothing could stand in your way

Now you are gone, but your shadow remains
It's a stain on the rug, it's a hole in my brain
Where the rain gets in,
And Daisy, it's raining today....

Hangin' With Miss Eerie

Written By: Tom Gewecke

Wake up stand up tall
Drive your buddies down to the mall
It's no use to be hangin' solo

All day all night
She's so pretty but your money's tight
Number on the back of my hand
Gonna make that

Wake up stand up
Drive down to the mall
It's no use hangin' solo

Fellas left for the night
She turns off the light
Heart is racing I stand up proud
This is how we

Wake up stand up
Drive down to the mall
It's no use hangin' solo

Hangin' With Miss Eerie
Hangin' With Miss Eerie

Nervous so is she
Never studied Lamaze theory
Holes in the latex
Gonna get checked

Two lives plus one more
Grid locked at the grocery store
Formula, Huggies too
I feel like crying

Wake up stand up
Back up 'gainst the wall
It's no use hangin' with Miss Eerie

Hangin' with Miss Eerie
Hangin' With Miss Eerie
Hangin' With Miss Eerie
Hangin' With Hangin' With
Hangin' With

Diane (For Real)

Written By: Dave Allender

I don't know you from Eve
That's why it's hard to believe
That with just one look,
You could sink a hook into me

And I don't know who you are
But you drive a nice car
I been running on empty
And your smile's so tempting to me

Maybe there's something in the air
It doesn't matter, and I don't care
If you think I'm strange

I don't know what you do
But I like your tattoo
And I know it's not fair
But I can't stop staring at you

Maybe there's something in the air
It doesn't matter, and I don't care
If you think I'm strange

We haven't met
But it's not over yet
It won't be that sad
If a smile is all I can get


"Tom's Mom's" (4-song EP)
"The Long Way" (2008)

Set List

We're happy playing anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. An hour or so is great.

We play mostly original songs but we also know a lot of songs by other people. (We try to make those sound original, too.) Some of our favorites:

It's All Over Now (Womack/Womack, Rolling Stones)
Boogie On Reggae Woman (Stevie Wonder)
Black Jack Davey (traditional, Taj Mahal)
This Must Be The Place (Talking Heads)

Song titles don't tell you much, but here are some of ours:

Hangin' with Miss Eerie
Emma Jane
Losing Streak
She Stole My Bike

Mostly they're about people we know, or made up.