Oudin does a lot of multitasking: She's a hostess, emcee ("The smoothie and cappuccino machines will be turned off during the performance," she cautions during the evening show), talent coordinator, and publicist. But her roles don't always play out behind the scenes. Special events aside, she spends Saturday nights onstage, singing and playing rhythm guitar with the Pathfinders alongside sound engineer and lead guitarist Scott Emmons, drummer Mario Carvajal, bassist Josh Aberman, and vocalist Karin Gerardin. "There have been times when I literally have had to jump off the stage and make someone a cappuccino," moans Oudin. "I'd like to think those days are gone, but I still need to be ready in case someone calls in sick. Sometimes I do a hundred different things in one night."
While Oudin often faces a daunting set of responsibilities, it's even more challenging to run a successful venue that caters to down-home entertainment in a decidedly pop-flavored environment like South Florida. "The performers that play at the cafe are some of the best singer/songwriters in the country," she maintains. "However, they aren't in the commercial 'pop' market and, with the exception of Michael Stock's wonderful Folk and Acoustic Music program [Sundays from 1:00-4:00 p.m. on WLRN-FM (91.3)], will probably never get radio airplay in Miami. They fly below the radar. If we don't support these artists, they'll no longer come to South Florida, and that would be a great loss to our community ... culturally and spiritually."
Cafe owner Laurie Oudin (right) leads house band the