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When the cat comes home
Riley Schultz, left, a Monroe graduate, and bandmate Kayleen Patrick perform as the group The Catcalls April 10 at Monroe Theatre Guild. The duo is on tour through the Midwest and will play the next three nights in Iowa before making their way back to Colorado. (Times photo: Adam Krebs)
MONROE - After five years teaching high school English in Scales Mound, Riley Schultz decided to make a career change.

Schultz, a 2003 Monroe High School graduate, moved to Colorado to pursue music. She returned for a show Tuesday night at Monroe Theatre Guild as part of her band, known as The Catcalls, with partner Kayleen Patrick.

"I'm happy with what I'm doing right now and I'm happy with what I've built, and I want to keep on this trajectory," Schultz said before the show. "This is my passion project."

Schultz, whose parents are Gene Schultz and Kim Remley, triple-majored in college, including in instrumental music, and played gigs with various bands prior to her move to the Centennial State. Since then she's come out with one album and is working on another with Patrick.

The music of The Catcalls is a mixture of blues, soul and rock. Patrick plays electric guitar and Schultz is on acoustic guitar, though she also can play violin, banjo, mandolin and saxophone.

"We've been a band for about a year," Schultz said. "We like to play as a full rock band, but the practicalities of touring with a third person, a full drum set and a third amp is just not very doable. So, we decided to do this tour as an acoustic-electric duo."

Although the group does cover some well-known artists, many of their songs are written themselves.

"We've got a blues tune called 'My Babe,'" Patrick said. "That one's my favorite. And Riley's got a new song coming out on our upcoming album that's another of my favorite songs to play."

In Fort Collins, Colorado, where the group is based, there is live music played every night somewhere in the city. Schultz said there is a void in Monroe that she hopes can get filled.

"I hope that we can help change the culture here. It's easy to just grow up here and not realize that there is a void for that," Schultz said.

Schultz also tries to get back to her roots every time she comes home.

"We try to see as many people as possible, but it's never long enough. It's like you just get into town and you have to leave right away," she said. "One thing that was cool about the last time I came into town to play a show was that I knew every person in the audience, including my first violin teacher. It's cool to be surrounded by all these people. There's the adage that it takes a village to raise a child, and it was cool the last time because the village showed up. It was beautiful."

The duo's current tour heads to Iowa next. An item at the top of Schultz's to-do list while in Monroe was to find some quality local cheese curds, a recipe for which hasn't found its way yet into the western United States, she said.

"I can't find good cheese curds in Colorado. You just can't find cheese curds quite like the (Monroe) Lions Club. I get homesick for people, and I get homesick for cheese curds," Schultz said.

Patrick is from Ladysmith and has family ties across the border into Minnesota. A swing into northern Wisconsin swaps the position of tourist versus tour guide between the two.

"We went up and stayed with my aunt when we went up to the Twin Cities, so Riley got a little bit of that also, our roles were reversed," Patrick said.

Tuesday's show was free of charge, with Schultz's sister selling items at a booth. The Catcalls' music can be found on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and YouTube. More information on the band and Schultz can be found on their websites, and