Cathy Byle sings vocals and plays keyboard, accordion, trombone, and accessory percussion. Her voice has been compared to Charlotte Church and Joan Baez. She lives with her husband and four children on their off-the-grid farm in Elkton, Oregon. Since 2003, Cathy has co-written and directed the “Echoes of the Umpqua” history pageant for Elkton’s annual Fort Umpqua Days. She had recorded and published one CD, “Root and Branch” (2013), and has been building a repertoire of originals for a second recording.
Cathy grew up singing and playing piano, inspired by her Irish-American family’s love of musicals. Born in the San Francisco Bay Area, her musical genius began to reveal itself when, as a toddler, she would play with the volume controls on her parents’ hi-fi stereo. Her Mom had to remove the knobs. She began tickling the ivories on her Great Aunt’s piano at a family Christmas at age 2. After Cathy learned how to play “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul” from a family friend, her parents decided that it was time for piano lessons. (Please, learn something else to play!!!!) So, at age 7, with a Casio 2-octave, battery-powered keyboard, formal music training began. So did ballet and ice skating, but these were interrupted by her family’s move to rural Elkton, Oregon in 1985. Age 9, she entertained her aunt on the long family move by reciting/ singing the entirety of “The Music Man” by heart. (Well, except for the mushy, romantic, “Till There Was You,” because she always fast-forwarded that one--no scene selection on VHS.)
Cathy continued her piano lessons, picking up trombone in middle school band, but quit piano in 8th grade, because she felt “too busy,” preferring to do sports with her friends – a choice she would always regret. She often sang solos at church and taught herself to play guitar for a youth group mission trip to Mexico in high school. She stayed in band and choir through high school, until Oregon’s Ballot Measure 5 in 1992 redistributed funding for education, resulting in her school’s music program being entirely cut. Cathy continued to participate in sports, drama, and a community pep band. By her senior year, she decided to focus on Music completely, resumed piano lessons and took a Music Theory class at the local community college, where she was first introduced to “The Circle of Fifths!”
After majoring in music education at The Master’s University in the L.A. area, earning her teaching credential, and moving home to teach school music for five years, she gave it up to raise her four kids. Cathy started on her Master’s degree in Music from University of Oregon, began co-writing and directing the “Echoes of the Umpqua,” and gave birth to her first baby in 2003. Attending mostly summers, she completed her Master’s degree and her family in 2008.
She adopted the name Décor’mm for her business, capturing her love of decorating and entertaining and her love for her children, whose names all start with the letter “M.” Cathy joined up with guitarist Phil Berglund and some other friends in 2010 to form a band that would play the jazz songbook standards for weddings. In 10 years, they’ve only played one wedding! But since then, Phil and Cathy have filled in their mix of songbook songs with country, folk rock, and pop favorites, as well as many of their own originals.
Cathy composed her first jazz-style original, “Sourdough,” in 2013, honoring the memory of her Great-Grandfather. She has also written in the gospel and Contemporary Christian genres. Her love for God, family and the simple stuff of life provides the inspiration for her songs.