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Gary Davidson was born in Seattle in 1958 and, except for stints in California and Colorado, has spent most of his life living in Washington and Oregon. His first twenty years were filled with immersion in swimming, football, track & field, and particularly alpine ski racing. After an early start on the trumpet was pushed aside by sports, it wasn’t until Gary’s first year in college that he returned from spring break toting his youngest brother’s classical guitar and was instantly hooked.
A self-taught guitarist, Gary’s musical path has been as winding as his many years as a geology graduate student (for those who want to know: structural geology, metamorphic petrology, and thermochronology), migrating through rock, blues, folk, old-time country, and bluegrass. For the last several years he has been completely hooked on flatpicking guitar and old-time country and bluegrass music, his main teachers being folks such as Norman Blake and Doc Watson channeled through the stereo. Gary also dabbles on the mandolin and has recently taken to exploring the old clawhammer banjo style. He particularly loves those “singing songs” and has been happily singing with his wife, Cathi Davidson, for the nearly three decades since they met on the ski slopes at Lake Tahoe, CA. Gary is currently having a great time performing some of his favorite music with Cathi and friends in Fern & the Honey-do's.
Gary lives with Cathi in North Bend. By day he works at Dusty Strings Acoustic Music Shop in Seattle, WA, where he spends his time talking to people about guitars, banjos, mandolins and all kinds of other instruments and music. When not at Dusty Strings or playing music, Gary spends as much time as he can skiing at Alpental, fly fishing, hiking, and mountain bike riding.
Cathi Davidson grew up in Palo Alto, California, in an environment filled with music. Her mom played the piano, so music lessons started early and it seemed natural for at least one of 6 kids to get involved--Cathi was the only one of the kids who stuck with the artsy side of life. Her musical journey took off while at summer camp in the hills near Santa Cruz, California, where she learned a few chords and a song or two from a tent mate who had a guitar. She went home convinced she wanted to play the guitar and sing instead of play the flute in the school band. Later that year she got her first guitar and spent hours torturing her fingers teaching herself to play.
Cathi met Gary in 1981 in Lake Tahoe, California. Along with skiing as an interest, they both played the guitar and sang and have been doing both together ever since. Bluegrass came into the picture after moving to Washington in 1990. Cathi still played a little classical guitar with a thumb pick when she started going to the Maltby Jam. She got her first Martin on Gary’s birthday a couple years later. That flatpick sure was hard to hold on to but persistence won out.
Their daughters Melissa and Sara are both on their own down in California. Cathi has retired and waiting for Gary to do the same so they can be off on adventures in their Scamp trailer Willie. In addition to singing and playing her guitar, she loves to jam with friends, paint Barn Quilts & watercolors, take pictures, and garden. Between family, music, and home, life is good.