is an exciting upbeat cover variety band that leans heavily on pop/rock hits from the 1960s and 1970s plus carefully selected songs from more recent decades;
perfect anytime you want to entertain a diverse crowd; lots of high energy songs with great harmony vocals that everyone knows and loves. If you want great music for your party we'll keep the happiness factor high. Palmetto Catz
began performing together in 2001 in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton hotel on Amelia Island. Since then Richard, Tommy and Rick have performed for hundreds of events throughout Coastal Georgia and NE Florida. Completing the line-up in 2005 we added keyboardist / vocalist Stevie "Fingers" Saracson.
My Event Music R i c h a r d S t r a t t o n guitarist / vocalist
Savannah Sea Island Saint Simons Brunswick Amelia Island Jacksonville Ponte Vedra Sawgrass Nocatee Saint Augustine
Richard Stratton (guitar/vocals) began his musical journey in 1966 as a boy soprano in the Episcopal choir in Westfield NJ. By 1970 he was fronting his own band. In the 1980's he received a Bachelor of Music and a Master of Music in composition and classical guitar from The University Of Georgia and pursued doctoral studies at The University of Iowa. He founded and operated The Iowa City Guitar Foundation for 15 years and has owned and operated a fine dining restaurant on Amelia Island where he now resides. He performs primarily in resort hotels.
Tommy Gilstrap (bass guitar/vocals) played on his first record label release by 'Felt' in 1970 and has performed with country artist Pam Tillis, Mary Wells (My Guy), R&B singer, songwriter, producer Cecil Womack, Eddie Floyd (Knock on Wood), and blues/soul artist O.V.Wright. He has opened shows for Archie Bell and the Drells, Kenny Rogers and B.J.Thomas. He has worked for many years as a freelance studio musician and is currently first call bassist for several Jacksonville area bands. Rick Kirkland, the founder and musical director of the Rick Kirkland Orchestra, was the drummer and a featured soloist with the Ray Charles Show during the 1980’s and has performed with Benny Goodman, Della Reese, Diane Schuur, Chet Atkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Doc Severinsen, Glen Campbell, Mickey Gilley, Dottie West, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Lionel Hampton, Lou Rawls, Diahann Carroll, Shirley Jones, Englebert Humperdink, Joe Cocker, The Ink Spots, The Four Freshman, The Temptations, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Red Skelton, George Burns, Bob Newhart, Freddie Hubbard, Louie Bellson, Ed Shaughnessy, Buddy DeFranco, Terry Gibbs, Milt Hinton, Ross Thompkins, Marian McPartland, Keter Betts, Major Holley, Herbie Mann....In addition to performing with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Rick is in constant demand as a free-lance concert and studio musician. As an educator, Rick has inspired generations of north Florida performers and instructors, serving as artist-in-residence at several Jacksonville area schools and universities.
Stevie ‘Fingers’ Saracson (keyboards/vocals) earned a Bachelor of Music (cum laude) from Jacksonville University and has worked with Teddy Washington (James Brown band alumnus), Steve Popovich (A&R Columbia Records,President Cleveland International Records), Little Anthony, The Drifters, and The Platters.
Palmetto Catz at The Ponte Vedra Inn
We want to thank you for your part in making our wedding truly special...the ceremony music, with you on solo guitar was perfect. Your song choices for the reception kept everyone on the dance floor all night long. Our guests are still talking about how much fun they had and how good the band was. Thank you for accommodating our special song requests, your talent and professionalism. -Beth & Steve Cutler
Dear Richard, We can't thank you enough for your part in our wedding! The ceremony was beautiful and our guests are still raving about the reception band. Thank you for making it such a blast!! Our day was perfect! Thanks for everything... p.s... Loved our 1st dance. Love, -Catherine & Matthew
The Palmetto Catz are so talented, so professional, and received so many compliments from our guests, that they really made our wedding reception special. We loved these guys! Highly recommend. -George and Rebecca Brewington