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Four songwriters and one Fantastic Cat to perform at Sparta concert series

Sparta. Their music gleefully careens between genres and decades, mixing electrified ‘60s folk and ‘70s AM radio gold with’ 80s heartland rock and ‘90s alt-country.

Sparta /
| 12 Jul 2021 | 04:44

Some cats are born fantastic; others have fantasticalness thrust upon them.

These guys are somewhere in the middle.

The Sparta Summer Concert Series will present the folk/rock quartet Fantastic Cat on July 16 in Dykstra Park. This self-deprecating group came together in pandemic times to forge a new entity.

Four songwriters joining forces to form a single band? There are a few precedents: CSNY, The Beatles, The Traveling Wilburys, The Highwaymen, and Monsters of Folk.

Fantastic Cat teamed up to record their “highly unanticipated debut,” which they titled “The Very Best Of Fantastic Cat.” Captured in the wilds of the Pocono Mountains, the album gleefully careens between genres and decades, mixing electrified ‘60s folk and ‘70s AM radio gold with’ 80s heartland rock and ‘90s alt-country. The result balances craftsmanship with ecstatic abandon in a raw and intoxicating collection captured live in the moment and fueled by the chemistry of four longtime friends making music for the sheer joy of it.

Each member boasts his own impressive resume along with a litany of critical acclaim. The Guardian dubbed Don DiLego “one to watch.” NPR said Anthony D’Amato “sings and writes in the tradition of Bruce Springsteen or Josh Ritter.” Rolling Stone called Brian Dunne’s latest single a “stunner” and praised Mike Montali’s band, Hollis Brown, as “the soundtrack for a late-night drive through the American heartland.”

Collectively, the four transcend their roots, emerging as an instrument-swapping, harmony-trading, tear-jerking, wise-cracking rock and roll cooperative far greater than the sum of its parts.

The opening act for the evening is the local acoustic group Blue Country featuring Don Elliker, Geof Doubleday and Rich Meir. Self-described as “600 pounds of sin” with three-part harmonies and lots of strings, the trio brings you an eclectic mix of old school Americana, with a bit of bluegrass and cool takes on classic rock tunes.

This free concert will start at 7 p.m. at The Nicholson Pavilion in Dykstra Park. It is a family-friendly event. Bring lawn chairs and picnics to enjoy a great night of music under the stars.

For more information, weather updates, and the complete Sparta Summer Concert Series schedule, visit spartaarts.org.

ESSENTIAL INFORMATION
What: The Sparta Summer Concert Series presents Fantastic Cat and Blue Country
When: 7 p.m. on Friday, July 16
Where: The Nicholson Pavilion in Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Road, Sparta. Bring lawn chairs and picnic.
How much: Free
More information: spartaarts.org.