Tony Award-winning actor Michael Cerveris doesn’t get out too often with his band Loose Cattle, though he and the band will be playing a series of shows over the weekend in West Virginia.
The band will be in Morgantown Friday night and then at the Huntington Music and Arts Festival Saturday evening.
Sunday afternoon, Cerveris and his musical partner, Kimberly Kaye, will be playing a stripped down, acoustic set at Taylor Books in Charleston. Then the full group will play at The Grove in Fayetteville Sunday night.
Cerveris can hardly wait.
“I love getting to play with the band, stretch out and invent on the spot,” he said.
Since his last Tony for “Fun Home” in 2015, Cerveris hasn’t been doing much music of any kind. He’s been too busy with television and film projects.
He might be best remembered for his recurring role on “Fringe,” playing the mysterious “Observer,” but his latest role is on the Netflix crime series “Mindhunter.”
Cerveris plays assistant FBI director Ted Gunn. Television viewers might also remember him as Professor Pyg from “Gotham,” “Ramses IV” from “The Tick” on Amazon or James Castro on “The Good Wife.”
He was also in “Ant-man & Wasp” and “Detours.”
His Broadway credits include “The Who’s Tommy,” “Assassins,” “Sweeny Todd” and “Evita,” though Cerveris hasn’t had much time to do any live theater.
“I’ve had a lot to do between ‘The Tick’ and ‘Gotham’ and ‘Mindhunter,’” he said. “I’ve kind of been all over the place, doing all of these cool projects, but not so much live performance.”
Going out with Loose Cattle helps fill that need and it’s fun.
Loose Cattle was formed in 2011 by Cerveris, Kaye and a few friends. The sound was classic country and western, though slightly askew.
“Most of the band is located in New Orleans,” Cerveris said. “I’m kind of back and forth between New Orleans and New York. I spent a year in Pittsburgh filming ‘Mindhunter.’ I’ve been kind of all over the place.”
The lineup of the band varies with Cerveris and Kaye being the key, core members. When certain pieces of the band can’t make it out for a show, owing to touring or other obligations, Cerveris said they have a pool of musicians to draw from.
“This time we’ve got Rene [Coman] and Doug [Garrison] from a band called The Iguanas with us,” he said.
The Iguanas are a roots rock band from New Orleans. Some of their music has been featured in film and television, and the band tours nationally.
“Our fiddle players in New York and New Orleans are busy on other tours, so we have Molly Page with us. Molly is from Dunbar, teaches violin in Kentucky and was an early member of Tyler Childers’ band, the Food Stamps.”
For songwriting, he and Kaye trade lyrics, song sketches and ideas back and forth through email.
“It’s a lot more efficient to be in the same room, but we’ve gotten OK at the other way with the long-distance writing,” Cerveris said.
Sometimes, songs also come together on stage during shows, which are relaxed, fun and exploratory.
“Basically, everyone knows where we’re going to start and where we’re going to finish,” Cerveris said. “What happens in between will just be an interesting adventure for all of us.”
While in West Virginia, Cerveris explained they’d be doing four different shows.
“In Morgantown, we’re with a couple of local bands,” he said. “The festival show is a short set. Taylor Books is acoustic and then at Fayetteville, we do our usual two or three-hour set, like we do in New Orleans.”
Cerveris laughed and added, “That’s like everything we know and probably a few things we don’t.”
They try to live up to their name, he said.
“At least, the first part,” Cerveris laughed.
Additional info: Loose Cattle will be at 123 Pleasant Street, Friday at 9 p.m. and also includes performances by The Lords of Lester and Wake Up Autumn. They perform at the Huntington Music and Arts Festival at Ritter Park around 6 p.m. Saturday, Taylor Books in Charleston at 1 p.m. Sunday, and finish off the weekend at 7 p.m. at The Grove in Fayetteville with The Carpenter Ants.
See venues for ticket information.