Kat Watson enjoys making a man blush.
"It's the awkward ones that are always the most fun," Watson said, giggling during a recent interview.
And the red-haired, self-declared southern girl has gathered a legion of crimson-cheeked men in her musical career, pulling one on stage during each performance to "marry" her.
"I embarrass them," she said. "They either love it or they're mortified. Either way, the crowd gets a good laugh."
The ceremony includes Watson singing country group Little Big Town's "Little White Church" to her chosen beau.
The upbeat country hit is only a small sliver of the group's diverse repertoire. Though Watson describes them as a primarily pop-country cover group, the band peppers their performances with Watson's fiddle on a variety of unconventional songs.
"We really don't have any borders or boundaries," she said. "We do something like 'Baby Got Back' it's just fun to see - you know, here's this scrawny little white girl on a fiddle with no butt singing - people really enjoy the music."
Music in her blood: Watson said she grew up in Austin, Texas, where the rich music scene and southern culture heavily influenced her.
"You're just surrounded by it," she said. "There could be a guitarist playing on the corner, and it's better than anything you'll hear on the radio right now."
Watson said she first picked up a violin when she was 10 years old at the suggestion of her family. She had wanted to play the cello, she said, but carrying the cumbersome instrument on and off the bus proved to be too impractical. Her parents suggested she try the instrument so that she could play together with her aunt, already an accomplished violinist, she said.
"I'm blessed to have music in my blood," Watson said. "My grandma, she was an opera singer. I get my lungs from her."
The instrument fit her personality, Watson said.
"I've never been a shy, quiet person," she said. "And (the violin) was very me, very loud, very out there."
Watson said she played in her school's orchestra until her family moved to California. When she realized her new school didn't have an orchestra, she said she was devastated.
"I thought my world was over," Watson said.
The then ninth-grader auditioned for the Tehachapi Symphony, securing a spot in the city's orchestra. Watson said she was the youngest member by 10 to 20 years.
"I had to grow up fast," she said.
Watson said she grew up playing classical music with the symphony and learning traditional Celtic folk music.
Kat and Dogz: She performed with a number of other symphonies, a Trans Siberian Orchestra tribute band, a traditional Celtic group, as well as another cover band before she found the Mad Dogz: Ken Young, guitar; Jim Speck, bass; and John Dougher, drums. Playing in the diverse group, she said, is her niche.
"I was always worried about being perfect," Watson said. "And I realized I wasn't having any fun. People won't remember if you forgot a word, but they will remember having fun."
Having fun for Watson includes getting in the audience's face, jumping on the bar with her fiddle and just "going crazy."
"The (band) just goes with it," she said. "I know no matter what I do the guys are going to be strong behind me."
The group has been playing together for the past three years and will perform for the first time at Fat Daddy's Saturday, Aug. 23, in York.
"New place, new faces, new people to marry."
- Reach Amy Peiffer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the show
Kat and the Mad Dogz will perform starting at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at Fat Daddy's, 2510 E. Market St., York.
Information: (717) 755-8843 or www.fatdaddys.com.
The band will also be performing at 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, at the Hanover Moose #227, 19 Barnhart Drive, Hanover.
For more on the band, visit www.katandthemaddogz.com.