The High Noon Saloon is a popular place for Madison couples to meet and fall in love, according to owner Cathy Dethmers. She didn't think it would happen to her, though. Not there, anyhow.
Well, fate has a sly sense of humor: Dethmers and her new fiancé, Dan O'Brien of local western-swing band North Country Drifters, met at the High Noon during a Tift Merritt show in the spring of 2008.
Though both harbor a deep affection for Madeleine Peyroux's jazz vocals and the hard-and-heavy sounds of Black Sabbath, it took them quite a while to meet in person. While Dethmers worked at her old club, O'Cayz Corral, and played bass in local metal trio Tormentula, O'Brien focused on jazz and Americana, playing and hosting local open mikes for four years before helping form the bluegrass band Nob Hill Boys in 2002 and launching North Country Drifters in 2007.
By the time O'Cayz burned in 2000, it seemed O'Brien had spent time at every venue but that one. "I knew of Cathy for years, and it was just one of those things where I was gonna go but it never happened. Now I'm like, 'How could I have not gone there?'" he says with a laugh.
Meanwhile, Dethmers considered herself a fan of some country and Americana music before meeting O'Brien, but he's opened up a whole new world of sounds for her to revel in. Helping other people revel has been her main business, one that sometimes takes her into the weird, wild world of wedding planning.
"We get wedding requests all the time," she says. "One couple who met here during a Those Darn Accordions show even got the band to come back and play their wedding. They had the ceremony at the end of the bar, right where they met."
Dethmers and O'Brien won't be saying "I do" at the end of the bar, but the couple will celebrate their union at the club after they tie the knot over Labor Day weekend. After a small, local ceremony with family and a few close friends, they'll party it up at the High Noon, 701A E. Washington Ave., with a larger group of groupies.
The ceremony will feature lots of fiddle music and western swing, plus a reception with Joel Paterson's country-meets-rockabilly band the Western Elstons. Meanwhile, the High Noon bash, which is private, will showcase over-the-top rock with Gomeroke and a nuptials-themed set by Screamin' Cyn Cyn & the Pons.
"[Pons frontman] Shane [O'Neill] is saying he's going to wear a better wedding dress than me, so it'll be a showdown," Dethmers says.
Or, as some spaghetti-western cowboy might say, it will be high noon at the High Noon.