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About Archie James Cavanaugh

Archie James Cavanaugh was born in Wrangell and raised in Kake, Alaska, a predominately Tlingit community located on Kupreanoff Island of Southeast Alaska. This town of 600 people had a forty-piece Salvation Army orchestra, a jazz band composed of older experienced horn players called the "Old Timers", and two rock & roll bands: the "Bumble Bee's," this band eventually regrouped under the name of the "Merry Men," and: the "Outer Limit Four." Much of my exposure to music came from listening to these many different genres of music.

My first musical experience began as a child by banging on pots and pans to create rhythms I heard in my head from an ability I attribute to the touch of God. I began singing gibberish melodies at this time, but became more vocal while attending the Salvation Army Sunday School singing "Jesus Loves Me" songs. By my seventh grade year I took guitar lessons from Billy Bean, a local guitarist along with another friend of mine by the name of Rick Austin. By my eighth grade year Rick and I teamed up with two other local musicians, Pete Johnson, guitar & harp, and Jr. Berkeley, drums. Because there were three guitarists, including myself, I elected to play the bass which I enjoyed because it was easier for me to sing and play at the same time. We began by taking pop tunes of that era and molding them into our style by using only the parts we liked, improvising the rest. We also made up original fast songs during our jams and then simply slowed them down for the slow tunes. I found that Pete also had the same ability to compose music. Our collaboration was like an instantaneous chemical reaction melding each other's song ideas into hook choruses and lines.

We didn't know if what we were doing was acceptable until we heard an interview on the radio with John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles. They were asked how they wrote their songs and John replied that they made them up, and that it was okay to be original. That was all we needed to hear from our icons making the sky the only limit in creating our original material.

Our band never did give ourselves an official name until our tenth grade year when we participated in a local battle of the bands with the "Outer Limit Four" and the "Merry Men." On the day of the battle our group brainstormed on a name and I eventually came up with the "Poor Boys" primarily because our music equipment was so 'eeshon' (poor in Tlingit). To illustrate how poor the drummer had to use pop cans as the stand for the bass tom, our mikes were all dented in and soldered together, and our cheap Sears and Roebuck solid-state amps were torn, tattered and electronically challenged. During our set our drummer did a drum roll on 'Can't Buy Me Love' and one of the high toms fell off the drum kit and rolled across the dance floor. We kept playing as people roared in laughter at the sight. Still, to our amazing delight and surprise the judges picked us as the winners giving us the honor as the main dance band of the evening. Keeping with village tradition we always invited other musicians or singers up on stage with us during our dances.

Following high school and on to college I continued to play with the "Poor Boys" while returning during the summer months. Later, as I wrote more and more songs during this period of time I began to ponder the possibility of recording an album or 45. This dream was always elusive, believing either that it was only meant for those famous artists who got picked up by major record labels, or that it was just too impossible to achieve because of cost and lack of know-how.

This album proved that through perseverance, hard work and never losing sight of my dream that it eventually came true.

I am proud to announce that, only through the grace of God, and after 26 years since the release of the Black & White Raven album, my second dream is currently being fulfilled. On my birthday of February 25, 2008, I am planning to release my second album/CD entitled, "Love Birds," a collection of love songs my wife Melinda and I have written through the years.

Jeff Tassin, renowned three-Grammy winner music producer is working with me on this album/CD. The cover will depict a traditional Tlingit Eagle and Raven box design, which in the Tlingit culture are considered the legal clan opposites that are permitted to court and marry.

In looking to the sky, my prayers have been answered. This album/CD is dedicated to Jesus Christ, ax Dikée Aankáawoo (Tlingit for my Heavenly Father).

-Archie James Cavanaugh

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