Like their fellow musicians around the world, two years ago, Leo Cavanagh and Katrina Wreede faced an uncertain future when the COVID lockdowns began. The duo, who sing together as Paper Moon, and play at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum on Saturday afternoon, decided they couldn’t just take a break or walk away from what they had known for most of his life
Cavanagh, a longtime Vallejo resident, has made quite a name for himself over the years in the Bay Area and beyond as a stellar jazz guitarist, performing as a soloist and as a member of many different groups in all kinds of places, festivals, clubs, and more.
He also taught guitar and other music classes part-time for over 25 years at Solano Community College and Napa Valley College and also wrote several books on playing the guitar. As days and months passed without any live performances, Cavanagh didn’t like what he saw coming from the Zoom concerts, so he decided to just record a new album – the aptly titled “Guitar in the Time of Corona” .
“I made a CD of my original compositions just on the guitar alone, where I recorded them in my kitchen,” Cavanagh said. “Actually. I had a nice microphone, and then I could email tracks to an engineer until we had a sound that we liked. So there’s one thing that really kept me practicing.” Cavanagh said.
Wreede, a composer and violist who has made performing at weddings a master art form, in addition to helping bring music to local schools, made the move to Vallejo several years ago. It was installed just a couple of doors from Cavanagh, which was useful after March 2020.
“What we do depends on sharing our music with a live audience,” Cavanagh said. “Even though we couldn’t play for people, we didn’t stop working. Since we live close to each other, we continued to try – outside, wearing masks, and often next to a propane heater.”
“Well, he’s the one who came out and took the propane tank and the heater and all that stuff,” Wreede said. “And it’s not like there wasn’t much else to do.”
These backyard practice sessions resulted in Paper Moon’s excellent 2021 album “Blue Midnight,” which includes original compositions, Brazilian choros, Argentine tangos, music by Thelonius Monk, and from the Great American Songbook.
“We like to think that these two years of testing have paid off – we have a lot of new material and arrangements and a greater level of communication,” said Cavanagh. “We see the return of live concerts with tremendous enthusiasm. We remember playing at the museum quite fondly and we look forward to returning.”
“What I hope is that for this concert that with the tunes that we have chosen for this concert it will be just perfect for a kind of warm, summer afternoon to do,” said Wreede.
If You Go: Paper Moon, 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum, 734 Marin St., Vallejo. Tickets are $25. For more information, visit vallejomuseum.net or call (707) 643-0077. Face masks are required.