You don’t have to be from the south to feel a deep connection with country music. We learn from its stories and its musicianship inspires us with its earthiness and dazzling technicality.
The members of Shotgun Wedding aren’t from the South. They’re some of New York City’s finest professional musicians who put a band together out of reverence for country music’s lineage, and out of a desire to further the tradition.
“You don’t have to be from the South to love country,” confirms Shotgun Wedding’s bandleader-hotshot guitarist-vocalist, Dennis DelGaudio. “Our bassist Andy is from the South Australia, our vocalist Catherine grew up in Carmel, NY; that’s south of Albany, Wade and I grew up on the south shore on Long Island, and Chuck grew up in Montclair, NJ…that’s south of somewhere. No matter where you live, we’re all south of somewhere.”
Shotgun Wedding draws from a wellspring of country, Americana, alt-country, rock n’ roll, and the boogie-and-stride piano tradition. With reverent intentions and restless creativity, the five-piece band has boldly settled its own authentic homestead. Here, virtuosic piano and guitar are foundations, swapping lead and accompaniment roles, trading fiery solo spots, and, in tandem, effortlessly nailing intricate riffs and melody lines. The rhythm section is intuitive and eclectic, limberly adjusting to the wiles of the music, as it calls for two-step raucousness, jazzy and Latin finesse, and good old-fashioned four-on-the-four rock n’ roll brawn. The group boasts four very individual and accomplished songwriters and lead vocalists, and sumptuous four-voice harmony passages. Shotgun Wedding has garnered favorable comparisons to Asleep At The Wheel, Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks, Little Feat, Zac Brown Band, and Shooter Jennings. The band cites influences as diverse as Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson Speckle Red Perriman, Professor Longhair, AC/DC, Jim Campilongo, and Karen Carpenter.
Shotgun Wedding is Dennis DelGaudio, guitar/vocals/bandleader; Wade Preston, piano/vocals; Catherine Porter, vocals; Andy Cichon, bass/vocals; and Chuck Burgi drums. The quintet has the rare distinction of being full-time acclaimed musicians with impressive resumes pursuing a passion project out of sheer love of the music, their chemistry as a creative unit, and the deep bond of friendship they share.
Founder Dennis DelGaudio held guitar duties for the entire run of the Broadway smash hit Movin’ Out, was the musical director for the London production of Movin’ Out, and he has the rare distinction of being tapped to play Billy Joel’s historic “Last Play at Shea concerts.” After those epic nights, he became a touring member of Billy Joel’s band. He’s an eclectic virtuoso on guitar, and a warmly expressive vocalist with a hint of twang. Sultry co-lead vocalist Catherine Porter has an astounding range of creativity to pull from. She can conjure mountainous emotionality, down home sass, and slow-burn subtlety. She’s toured and performed with with the likes of Brian May (supporting Guns-n-Roses), Queen, Chaka Khan, Sam Moore, Mel B and Kiki Dee, among others. She’s also a captivating performer with resume that includes she starring opposite Michael Crawford in the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Hugh Jackman in Sunset Boulevard. She also was the lead in the Tony Award-winning musical, Next to Normal. Masterful pianist/vocalist Wade Preston has a storied history emerging from a boogie stylist to something of a Broadway star as the piano man in Movin’ Out. Billy Joel was so impressed with Wade’s performances that he asked him stand in for Joel during the months of rehearsals needed for the “Last Play at Shea” concerts. Wade has also had the honor to perform at the PA Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C. for President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and PA Governor Rendell. Steady rolling bassist Andy Cichon has end down the low end for such diverse and respected artists as Rose Tattoo, Five For Fighting, Shania Twain, and for over a decade Andy has been in Billy Joel’s band, sharing the stage with the likes of Paul McCartney, Roger Daltrey, and Steven Tyler. Drummer Chuck Burgi brings a deep pocket and Swiss Army Knife-like versatility to the quintet. In addition to being Billy Joel’s current drummer, other highlights on his resume include Hall & Oates, Michael Bolton, Diana Ross, replacing Phil Collins in Brand X, Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf, Enrique Iglesias, Movin’ Out.
It was something as simple as recording with a live band that first sparked the idea of Shotgun Wedding. Dennis grew up in Long Island, enjoying the country music his mother played, and even sought it out on his own listening to the popular 1970s country station, WHN 1050 AM. In modern times, session musicians rarely get a chance to play organically with a full band. Budget constrains and technology have transformed music making into something of a synthetic venture. A chance live session reawakened the early joys of playing music for Dennis, and in a jolt of inspiration he thought of forming a country band with his buddy and favorite keyboardist Wade. Dennis and Wade got together and recorded some elemental tracks in an apartment on an iPhone, showcasing the duo’s songwriting skills and harmony gifts. On the promise of those recorded they netted Chuck and Andy as full-on dedicated bandmates. Catherine was the last member to join. It’s been said she impressed the boys with her singing, her preparedness, and her moxie.
They are slick, chops heavy, refreshingly eclectic, and yet it retains hallmarks of classic country such as everyman, everywoman narratives, fiery twang, artful songcraft, and breathtaking harmonies. “We come from the suburbs and big cities so there’s an immediacy to our sound,” figures Dennis. “But one sure thing we share with country is the earnestness of our stories. Our everyday life is life in the city and contains the bustle of that--that’s what we write about.”