Without music, Deb and Chuck McAuley might never have met, fallen in love, gotten married, raised a child and released their first CD.
They met as teenagers, singing in a high school choir in Summerville, N.J. Married for 27 years now, the McAuleys pushed their passion for music to a new level with the release of their initial recording, "Torch."
Although they had seen each other around school, it wasn't until an entrepreneurial music teacher paired them up to perform at a wedding that they discovered each other and have stuck together since.
They haven't stopped singing together since those initial performances of "Annie's Song" and "The Wedding Song."
And their love of music has never been far from their day-to-day activities, although Chuck McAuley works as a government relations director in the insurance industry and Deb McAuley just completed a communications degree at Sonoma State University.
"Music is a big part of our lives," Chuck McAuley said.
He began playing guitar at age 10 and his wife-to-be also was a guitar player. He was into the Beatles and the Eagles when they started a garage band called Special Blend, specializing in top 40 hits.
They even played at their senior prom.
The popularity of live music helped pay the bills while Chuck McAuley attended college and during the early years of their marriage. They moved to California in 1978, following family to the area after visiting.
Playing local gigs became their mainstay and they became well known, playing regularly at locales like the old Steamer Gold nightclub in Petaluma and at local fairs.
They also worked as music directors at both St. James and St. Vincent churches. Their specialty was folk Masses, but these days they only help out with special projects, rather than managing the week-to-week activities.
The McAuleys built a studio in their Petaluma home, and that's where they recorded the tracks on "Torch," all of which are original and written jointly.
Deb McAuley goes for a more traditional folk sound, with a taste of Joni Mitchell or Linda Ronstadt, whereas her husband prefers rock and blues, with the influence of Eric Clapton and B.B. King.
Chuck McAuley describes "Torch" as broad spectrum with some songs "more traditional, some more rocky and some more country."
"It's put together like that," he said of the self-produced record.
"Some are more gentle with a deeper meaning," Deb McAuley added, "and some are sad and happy."
The most requested song is called, "I Can't Get My Fill of Dr. Phil," which they wrote together and call "really fun" because people get a kick out of it.
"Torch" is available from Amazon.com. It also is for sale at Discoveries Music in Petaluma, Borders Books in Santa Rosa and Incredible Records in Sebastopol.
The McAuleys plan to promote the CD, which was released right before the holidays, with performances at the Petaluma Folk Music Concert Series, at festivals and at other Sonoma County gigs.