Fantastic Cat, the mostly anonymous Americana supergroup, deliver an exquisite version of Zevon’s goodbye ballad 20 years after the songwriter’s death
There’s been a well-deserved resurgence in Warren Zevon’s music of late, 20 years after the songwriter’s death. Billy Joel raved about his work to the L.A. Times in a recent interview, Shooter Jennings devoted two full concerts to playing only Zevon songs, and, in February, Zevon himself was nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.
But Fantastic Cat — a mostly anonymous Americana supergroup whose members prefer to issue press photos wearing feline faces — have been singing Zevon’s praises since their very first show in 2021. They covered the bittersweet goodbye “Keep Me in Your Heart” that night and it’s been in the band’s set ever since.
On Tuesday, Fantastic Cat officially released their version of the song to streaming services along with an in-the-studio music video. It’s an exquisite rendering of Zevon’s ballad (which the songwriter wrote and released as he was hearing the end of his battle with cancer) with each member of Fantastic Cat singing lead and then joining their voices together for the “sha-la-la” harmonies of the chorus.
So who exactly are these men behind the meows? Each is a solo artist in their own right: Anthony D’Amato, Brian Dunne, Don DiLego, and Mike Montali are fixtures of the New York-area scene. They also have a sense of humor and titled their debut album, released last summer, The Very Best of Fantastic Cat. A collection of 10 tracks with each singer taking a star turn, it’s a wildly satisfying collection of folk-rock, country, Americana, and good old rock & roll.
Fantastic Cat are currently on tour in Europe but will return to the U.S. to play a full set opening for Jesse Malin at New York’s Webster Hall on March 25, a 20th anniversary celebration of Malin’s solo debut The Fine Art of Self Destruction featuring special guests like Lucinda Williams, Butch Walker, and Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner. The band will also tour the U.S. this summer, with a slot on the In Between Days Festival in Massachusetts in August.