Meet Mel Cooleys

Cathy Croce singing "Needle In The Haystack" & "Leave Me"

from Live(?) In Seattle

Performers on this recording: Cathy Croce, Patrice O'Neill, Robert Puff, Andrew Ratshin, Garey Shelton, and Lisa Theo.



What happens when six popular, multi-talented performers come together bringing twelve decades of experience to bear on an unsuspecting mass audience? You get the group MEL COOLEYS, a Seattle-based sextet made up of some of the best musicians the Pacific Northwest has to offer. And just who are these musicians?

Well, first of all there`s LIBBY TORRANCE! Libby Torrance is a well-known vocalist and jazz pianist whose career as a performer and songwriter has taken her from the music clubs and recording studios of Seattle to New York City. Her nationwide studio and performing credits include work with Nancy Wilson, Bob Hope, Phyllis Hyman, Janice Pendarvis, Dianne Schuur and Michel le Grande. Libby's voice has been featured on hundreds of recordings, including numerous jingles for clients such as HBO, A&E Network, Nike and many others. In addition to performing with Mel Cooleys, Libby is currently working on her upcoming solo recording.

Second, you have GAREY SHELTON. Bass player, singer, engineer, producer... From session to stage -- whether recording or touring with Tingstad & Rumbel, B. B. King, James Brown, Randy Meisner, Bo Diddley, Jesse Colin Young, or Chuck Berry &endash; Garey Shelton is known as quite simply the best bass player around. He's been a member of groups like Hi-Fi, The Allies, and Jr. Cadillac and appeared on just about every important recording project to come out of the Northwest in the last decade. Garey's been called "a valued customer" by The Seattle Times.

Next, there`s ANDREW RATSHIN. Andrew, also known as Electric Bonsai's not electric, it's not a band, is a member of, and principal songwriter for the group Uncle Bonsai. He has 5 solo releases, 8 Uncle Bonsai releases, and now brings his guitar playing and songwriting talents to this new group. Andrew "writes songs that are intriguing mixtures of social commentary and playful theatrics," (The New York Times) and the Associated Press says his "lyrics are witty send-ups of consumer culture and the American psyche."

Then you have PATRICE O`NEILL. Patrice O'Neill is a performer, a writer, a mom, and a past Director of Victory Music. She currently spends most of her time as Director of Acoustic Sound producing the Wintergrass Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival in Tacoma WA, and the Adventure Bluegrass Festival in Stevenson WA. She has recorded 2 solo Cds, including the Yellow Tail release "Elusive", and has performed extensively as a solo performer and as a member of the Mel Cooley's band. She is easily distracted by shiny things.

Fifth.....ROBERT PUFF. Robert Puff, a versatile musician who doubles on alto and soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, tinwhistle and Irish low whistle, as well as vocals and guitar, has toured internationally with the USO and as Musical Director for the Women's AGLOW organization. Since 1974, Robert has shared the stage with, among others, R&B artists the Neville Brothers, Diva Natalie Cole, Brazilian singer Nana Bao and her Bossa Boys, Christian recording artist Twila Paris, Singer songwriter Dave Irish, Jazz pianist Mike Strickland, Fusion guitarist Scott Lindenmuth, Harpist Bronn Journey, Rock band Gabriel and the eccentric folk / pop band Mel Cooleys.

Finally, there's original member CATHY CROCE! That’s right, formerly lead singer/lyricist for The Conections and Bad Bones, Cathy Croce comes in with her "girlish yet rich soprano" (The Rocket) and her extraordinary performance skills. An accomplished actress, singer/songwriter, and active Theatre Sport participant, Cathy has been known to sing everything from Rhythm and Blues to Gospel to Yugoslavian Folk Songs. Cathy recently released her debut solo CD, "Putting Words Into My Mouth", produced by Wayne Horvitz. Cathy has showcased at Bumbershoot, North by Northwest, South by Southwest in Austin, Texas and the Australian Music Showcase. She lives in Ballard with her husband Kenny and is now known as Mrs. Volpone.

So there are the six members of MEL COOLEYS. And what does MEL COOLEYS sound like? Good question! Let`s just say that sometimes there`s six-part harmony, sometimes there`s guitar, mandolin and bass, sometimes there`s a saxophone or clarinet or a wind-controller...maybe there`s an accordion ... the truth is, they sound like lots of things. But mostly, they sound like MEL COOLEYS ... all new original songs, all new original sound.