If you spend more than five minutes with Cate Davison and Alisyn Reid, the dynamic duo behind A Rowdy Faith, it’s obvious they’ve been friends for a while.
In fact, their friendship dates back to their time at Central High School, although they didn’t know then that they would later be band mates. Davison remembers, “Alisyn and I were in drama together … that was the first time we worked together as performers.”
They each followed their acting dreams into college as they headed to the East Coast. Reid attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia while Davison attended Winthrop University in South Carolina. All the while, they remained fast friends, even when they headed to new cities after college.
Davison moved to Chicago to follow up on an acting career. In 2013, she decided it was time for a change and moved back to Little Rock. “The decision to stop acting was very much an identity crisis for me, because it had been my plan for my entire life. But I realized the business didn’t work with the kind of life that I wanted,” she explains.
Reid was already back in Little Rock when Davison arrived, having traveled to New York for a conservatory program at Stella Adler. She says, in terms of acting, “I think the conclusion we both came to, certainly the one I came to, was, I really like working, rehearsing and eventually performing, but auditioning is just not my thing.”
Reid was already singing and playing around town when she recruited Davison. The two first sang together at a friend’s wedding, and never looked back and began rehearsing together.
While Reid starting her song writing in college, Davison had only recently began working at it, during her last few months in Chicago. “I was living in an apartment without central heat, no internet connection, and there was just me and my guitar that I couldn’t play that well and my dog. I would hole up in my room with a space heater and write songs,” Reid remembers, laughing, “And some of them were ok, and some of them not very good.”
After Reid secured a show in East End, Ark., Davison opened up and played some of her songs between Reid’s set. “I wrote those songs when I wasn’t acting anymore and I was crazy depressed. I desperately needed an outlet, and … [Alisyn] was responsible for convincing me to share those.”
They quickly chose a name – A Rowdy Faith. Davison laughs, “I think people often mistake us for a Christian act, because of the word ‘Faith’ which happens to be Alisyn’s middle name.” Since branding themselves they have continued to write on their own and then practice together, opening up the rehearsal space for suggestions and edits.
These days, the line-up has grown to include what Davison terms, “a legit family band.” Out of moving back home the duo has been extremely grateful to spend time with their families. Reid’s mom plays bass while her dad plays lead guitar, and Davison’s dad plays the banjo and drums.
In fact, Davison and Reid look back to their younger years for musical influences. Davison remembers growing up listening to more of an Americana style, with Jazz mixed in. “I listened to a lot of Ella Fitzgerald and loved the big standard period,” she says. Reid, on the other hand, thinks back to Thursday nights when her parents used to play music with friends. “They would take turns playing songs …
often it would be The Beatles; Crosby, Stills, and Nash; Tom Petty; and John Prine.”
Thus, A Rowdy Faith is a mix of all things good – classic rock and folk combined with sultry jazzy, bluesy tones. Plus, they have a knack for harmony.
You can tell after listening to a set that they really feel their songs, which makes hearing them live that much more enjoyable.
If you ask, both Davison and Reid will tell you they’re introverts, and playing is a big deal to them. They’ve graced the South on Main stage among others, and recently discovered that they’ll be in the first round of the Arkansas Times Musician Showcase.
While they’re excited to be in the upcoming showcase, they have thoughts on the local scene. Davison says, “The food and drink scene here is solid, but I think Little Rock could stand to focus a little more on the art scene. … It’s very niche.”
In the meantime, they have chosen Little Rock as home, and can’t wait to fight to make it the best it can be.
If you haven’t already, check out some of their work and catch an upcoming show.