A new album with a familiar sound


BAKER CITY — The first notes sound like an Elvis song.

Or is that a country tune?

A combination, is the answer, as the musical style of country blues permeates through the newly released album by The Channel Cats, a local band that has played around Baker County for years.

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 2.20.17 PMThe band’s album release party is set for 8 p.m. March 4, at Lefty’s Taphouse in Baker City, 1934 Broadway St. That day is also Lefty’s two-year anniversary party.

The Channel Cats are Andy Zikmund, Loran Joseph and Tom Barger.

Zikmund “cut his teeth on the traditions of Nashville country music, first with Bill Freeze and the Heaters, then as a rhythm guitarist with The Econolines,” he said.

In 2010, Zikmund taught Joseph to play bass, while he learned to play lead guitar. Drummer Tom Barger was recruited in 2011.

At first, the band mostly played cover songs.

“After a few years it became apparent something was missing,” Joseph said. 

The Channel Cats, a band from Baker City, will release a new album March 4.

The Channel Cats, a band from Baker City, will release a new album March 4.

In January 2015, they set up in the basement of Sweet Wife Baking — owned by Joseph and his wife, Jenny Mowe — and recorded 11 of Zikmund’s original songs, with Joseph as the recording and mixing engineer.

“I’ve been involved in recording projects before and watched the masters do it, then took the plunge and invested in the equipment and software to do it myself,” Joseph said. “It took quite a few projects learning the nuances of mixing and mastering. But I really enjoyed learning and am very happy with how this album turned out.”

After the initial recording, the band spent the next year tweaking and improving the songs, and recorded two more instrumentals in the studio at Marilyn’s Music in Baker City.

Baker local Shannon Gray is the only guest musician on the album, singing harmonies on “Hillbilly Joint.”

Barger played organ, piano, and lap steel as well as drums on the record.

Joseph said the cover artwork was done by Kate Reid, who took photographs on the second floor of the Oddfellows Hall on Main Street.

The CD will be available online at cdbaby.com, and streamable via Spotify, Amazon and iTunes beginning March 4.

Copies are also on sale at Sweet Wife Baking, 2080 Resort St., which is open for retail sales on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Updates on The Channel Cats are posted on the band’s Facebook page and its website, www.thechannelcats.com.

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