Arts & AGEing performance in San Francisco!

Please help! We need your financial support!  For the past eight weeks I’ve been working a job that has opened my heart more than I imagined. Arts & AGEing KC hired me to write a song with a group of elders in an independent living retirement village. (It just happened to be the one my own Tiny Grama lives in!) We have had a BLAST! Not only did we write a full song about a mother’s unconditional love for her child and the different stages they both go through, but we also learned American Sign Language for some of the words. Every single one of us has learned and become healthier people because of it. Now Arts & AGEing has been invited to perform a play about ageism, “Dancing With Crows Feet,” that was written and directed by the organizations founder, Deb Campbell, at the International Congress on Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine in San Francisco July 23-27! This is a HUGE honor! The conference only happens every four years. Will you help us get the funds to go? I believe there will be 6 or 7 of us needing airline tickets and hotel fares. Please watch the video on this Indigogo campaign and give how you’re able. THANK YOU! And please JOIN US on April 26, 2017 at the Gladstone Community Center for a performance of our song, as well as exhibitions of other art projects that area retirement homes have participated in as a part of the same Arts & AGEing KC program. More information HERE.

Kasey with her Tiny Grama and another participant in the Arts and AGEing songwriter workshop. February 23, 2017. Photo by Deb Campbell.

Arts & AGEing KC


This is my Tiny Grama. She is pure joy and one of the greatest inspirations in my life. This week I taught my second songwriting class to a group of elders at her retirement home. It’s a program through the not-for-profit organization Arts & AGEing KC and its hands-down my favorite job I’ve ever had in my entire life. The general idea is to not just perform art FOR seniors, but to get them to participate in art. It was just coincidence that I was placed at Tiny’s community… or divine universal intervention… whichever it is, I am so grateful. After each class I have walked away feeling joyful, fulfilled, and like I am the student sitting at the feet of my elders. At the end of the next few weeks, we’ll have a song that we will have all written together.

Pictured: Waunita (Ford) Felts – March 2, 2017 holding a picture of her mother helping her take her first steps. Circ. 1927. Parkville, Missouri. 

Kasey Rausch’s Country Duo at Sun Studio!

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
PBS Sun Studio Session to air nationwide.

The Country Duo (Kasey Rausch & Marco Pascolini) are honored to have been invited by the legendary Sun Studio (recording home to Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis) to film an episode for the PBS Sun Studio Sessions. The duo will return to Memphis, TN on August 13 for a special public concert at Otherlands before filming the television show live in Sun Studio on August 14, 2016. This comes after The Country Duo made an impromptu recording at the historic studio in March of 2016. Look for the 45 RPM vinyl to be released this Fall. The 8th season of the PBS Sun Sessions will begin airing on PBS across the US in the Spring of 2017. Visit the Sun Studio Sessions YouTube Channel to watch episodes from the previous seven seasons including performances and interviews by: Margo Price, Jakob Dylan, Aoife O’Donovan, Justin Townes Earle and many more. Subscribe to Kasey Rausch’s Country Duo email list at www.kaseyrausch.com to stay updated on upcoming shows and releases.

The Country Duo is Kansas City’s Kasey Rausch and Marco Pascolini. Armed with acoustic and electric guitars, a pedal steel, and a passion for good ol’ country music, you’ll hear them play Rausch’s original country folk tunes as well as the classics from Patsy to Merle, Gram to Emmylou. Spring of 2016 found the duo playing in Nashville, Tennessee at the Station Inn with Grammy winners The Roland White Band, watching the Grand Ole Opry from the stage, and touring through Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri and Kansas.
Kasey Rausch is a 4th generation songwriter, musician and co-producer of River Trade Radio on KKFI 90.1FM. Her family and musical roots can be found in Parkville, Kansas City, the Missouri Ozarks, Winfield, Kansas (home of the legendary Walnut Valley Festival), and deep Southeast Texas. Rausch’s third album Guitar in Hand (MudStomp Records 2014) debuted at #3 on the Roots Music Reporting charts and was voted one of the top three albums of the year by readers of The Pitch, KC’s weekly entertainment guide. She was named 2013’s Female Performer of the Year by The Farmer’s Turnpike on KMXN 92.9 FM, sharing the stage with Joe Ely, Peter Rowan, Roland White, Kris Delmhorst, Jack Williams and many more.

Marco Pascolini is the stuff of guitar legends. For more than twenty years he has forged his path as one of the most well-respected musicians in Kansas City. Recognized as one of the region’s most influential musicians, his talent across a multitude of instruments has been acknowledged in numerous music media including The Kansas City Star and The Pitch, among others. Be it an electric guitar or a pedal steel in his hands, you’ll find him touring with Kasey Rausch’s Country Duo or on stage in his home town with Mr. Marco’s V7, The Naughty Pines or songwriter extraordinaire Scott Hrabko.

103 (and now she’s finally free.)

 

103” tells the story of my Great-Grandmother Mary Ellen (Johnson) Ford.  She was born in rural Platte County and was a lifelong resident of Parkville, Missouri.  A gem of a lady, she would feed you anything she could manage to pull out of her kitchen cabinets and refrigerator, and always danced a jig on her birthday.  She wore her pastel beads on Easter and jingle bells on her skirt for Christmas.  My daughter took her first steps in her home on 9 Highway.  Grannie lived to be 103 years old – mostly healthy and happy right up until the end.  That final day also happened to be my birthday so as we celebrated my life, we helped her ease into death.  I had never known a day of balance as great as that one.  Cheers, Grannie!  Thanks for teaching me to giggle and for letting me be one of your “sweet petunias.”

 ON THE RECORDING:

family 100th birthday
100th Birthday Celebration of Mary Ellen Ford. August 17, 2004.

Kasey Rausch – vocals & acoustic guitar

Kim Rausch – harmonies

Ethan Ridings – lead acoustic guitar

Molly Healey – fiddle

Caleb Gardner – mandolin

Chris DeVictor – upright bass

Recorded, mixed and mastered by Rob Nold Audio

Expectations

 

1993:  I was 18 years old and fresh out of high school. Two days after my graduation I left the lil’ East Texas town that had been my home for nearly 13 years and headed back to my birth land, Kansas City.  After about a week or so of being in town I walked in to a tiny little record store in Oakview, Missouri, a small community that hugs Gladstone in Kansas City North, and was hired on the spot to help check in shipments and process used CD’s (a new thing back then!) I had no idea at the time that Disc Traders would change my life forever. I met a lot of very influential folks in the KC music community: Chuck Haddix, Howard Iceberg, Barry Lee, Phil Kline, among others, and the one who became my “adopted father,” Dan Conn.  Dan was in his 40’s (SO. OLD… according to 18 year old me.) He was the coolest 40 year old I had ever met.  He loved music passionately – everything from Pink Floyd, Neil Young and The Grateful Dead to Mark O’Connor, Clannad and Maura O’Connell.  He was a seriously cool dude.  We had such fun working together at that store for over three years.  Later when I went on to work at Recycled Sounds in Westport and he went back to the Music Exchange we still got together frequently to listen to music, tell stories and share a meal.  I miss those times.

Dan_Conn_Disc_Traders_1996

As years passed, Dan was stricken with a debilitating illness.  Agoraphobia got the best of him.  Many of us who loved him didn’t understand what was happening at first.  It started with dates that were stood up, talks on the phone instead of face to face conversation, then slowly less and less interaction.  As my life moved on it seemed that Dan’s was standing still.  He did reach out to me a couple times by way of a phone call.  I was a very busy mama by then, 2005, tending to my daughter and growing a new relationship with a man and child who would become my husband and bonus son.  I didn’t return Dan’s calls just due to the business of my life and my great character flaw for picking up a phone.  It was rude and Dan was frustrated by it.  He left a final voice message for me expressing angrily his feelings of being forgotten.  I was hurt and angry that he didn’t understand the mountain of things going on in my life.  My frustration got the best of me and I then left an angry voice mail for him.  It wasn’t pretty.  I’m not proud.  I am human.

Fast forward a few months to the winter of 2006.  My family had just bought and moved in to a new home.  Things seemed to be settling down a bit and I made my way into the Music Exchange where Dan used to work, but was no longer going in because of the agoraphobia.  I knew that Dan’s phone number had changed recently so I told his brother, Dave, also an employee at the store, to please let Dan know that I would love to hear from him and heal our scuffle – the only one we’d ever had in all those years.  It was only a couple days later that I received the phone call that Dan was found dead in his apartment from a self-inflicted wound.  My heart broke.  The kind soul who had taken me under his wing, taught me so much about music and friendship was gone.  We had a stupid falling out over stupid things called expectations.  We both expected the other one to understand what was going on in our lives, despite our poor attempts to communicate it.  What a waste of perfectly good time.

I’m still not over it.  Although these days I like to think that some universal force pulled me into the Music Exchange to say the words of peace out loud – Dan was likely already gone in that moment.  Word has it he had been gone a few days before he was found.  Meanwhile, I had already written a song about our situation and those greedy little destructive things called expectations, but I never had the chance to share it with him before he was gone.  As his birthday approaches, September 8, I’d like to use this opportunity to share the story of Dan and me.  I miss him every day and I’m so grateful for all the things he taught me, perhaps the greatest being “don’t go to bed mad.”  You just never know what tomorrow holds.  Move towards it with all the love you can muster….

Listen to “Expectations” from my 2007  self-released album “Live How You Love.”

 

 

Home Sweet Home – Making Connections

A sign that reads “Home Sweet Home” hangs in the background of one of my favorite pictures in the world. It’s a black and white photo taken by the Department of Reclamation in the early 1940’s. It’s my family making music. Great-Grandpa Arley Delp with banjo in hand, along side his only two daughters (among many sons), Delores on piano and Vernice (my grandmother) on trombone. The picture says so much; captures more than a thousand words. First, it shows a family bond through music, a bond that is as beautiful as a perfect sunrise. The sign on the wall indicates a certain amount of humble pride for the home that they worked so hard to build — and build it by hand they did, one board, one apple tree at a time. The sheet music at the piano shows that there was an effort and skill in learning music on the young woman’s part (the story goes Grandpa Delp didn’t know a lick about reading music or theory.  He just knew what sounded good.) It also shows an equality in the mindset of the family – women in music for one, and two — a woman playing trombone was almost unheard of in those days. A rarity at best.

Home Sweet Home - Banjo Trombone Piano - Arley Vernice Delores Delp

I also look at this photo and think, “what does this mean for me? How did this moment captured on film affect my life?” For starters this is my photographic Truth that I am at least a fourth-generation music maker. It’s a piece of the evidence that tells me I am on my authentic path. It connects the memories that I have of sitting in the living room with my Grandma either listening to her make music, taking her instruction on how to hear one more note in the sound, or just soaking in the pride I felt seeing her smile when I shared a song with her. It explains why one of her biggest wishes in life was for her children and grandchildren to play music together. It all makes sense now. These connections are precious and real. This picture makes all of that tangible for me – something I can see with my eyes to go with everything I’ve felt in my heart for years.

I think connections are generally what people need and desire in life. Whether they know it or not, or would admit to it or not, a sense of belonging is crucial in building self-worth and value. This thought is partly inspired by a conversation I had yesterday with an employee at the Jesse James Bank Museum in Liberty, Missouri. If she had a nickle for every person that wandered into that museum claiming to be related to Jesse James…  Maybe some of them are, many of them certainly are not, but at the root of it, there’s the desired feeling of connection. To be a part of something tells us that we’re not alone.  

And that’s just one of the many reasons I share my love affair with music. Even if only a single note is played, it makes its way through the air, vibrating each particle along the way, present with the very moment, full-circle, from the heart of the source to the heart of the receiver. With each heartbeat, it sends that energy right back out to the world for another moment waiting to be grasped. Connection made.

Many of my family members are out makin’ music in the word today.  Give ’em a listen!

Kim Rausch McLaws (my sister) – Video of  “Stars Fell on Alabama” duet with Narciso Lobo

Kent Rausch (my uncle) – Vine Street Rumble; New Red Onion Jazz Babies 

Natalie McLaws (my niece) – Video of “A Song About Parkville.” Check out her BandCamp page!

Collin Rausch & Kyle Rausch (my cousins) – Shy Boys – BandCamp

Ethan Ridings (cousin) – Ethan Ridings Band

Anthony Gropper (cousin) – The Student Loans

And of course… let’s not forget one of the few things I enjoy bragging about, my 8th cousin 3 times removed, Mr. Waylon Jennings!  🙂

Happy connecting & music makin’, folks!

Kasey Rausch

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Terry Rausch & Larry Ford, un-related uncle-in-laws, making music. 

Dreams to Reality

“What choice can I make today to help my dreams become a reality?” I read this quote in the book “Something More” by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  My new friend Stefanie loaned the book to me. I love that. I love it when someone puts in your hand the very thing that you didn’t realize you needed. And so I ask myself this very question. I wrote it on a sticky note and placed it on my laptop where I’ll see it every day. It’s staring at me now. What can I do today to make my dreams something livable, tangible… to make my dreams my way of life?

Last night I attended a seminar on website building led by my friend, Chris Dahlquist. She’s not only one of my favorite photographers, but one of the people I feel so fortunate to have in our Kansas City artist community. She goes above and beyond to keep integrity in her art and to help others do the same (thus the seminar). She spoke of the importance of blogging and sharing a little of yourself outside of just your chosen art form. For some reason the term “blogging” really gets under my skin. I’m gonna have to figure out a word for it that I’m more comfortable with, but for the sake of clear communication, I’ll use it for now. So this is me – “blogging” **shiver** in an attempt to share lil’ about myself and in a conscious choice to make my dreams a reality.  

I often feel that things like blogging or asking people to buy my music are such egoic actions. I search for the balance in all that I do and still the pendulum constantly shifts – this I know. I knew that by choosing to attend Chris’s seminar last night that was me putting into action a choice that could help my goals in music become reality. I willingly opened my hand (and heart and mind) to the evening and once again, someone placed within it something I didn’t know I needed. It was this:  Don’t make your blog entirely about yourself.  Be giving.  Talk about the people who’s art you love, the music you’re listening to, the things that inspire you. It was one of those, “well, duh!” moments for me. Oh here I go again. “For me. Me. Me, me, me.” In all honesty, I feel so strongly connected to people that it’s almost impossible to talk about “me” without talking about “you.” Make sense? Yeah… I’m still trying to figure it all out, too. But again, for the sake of clear communication, what I’m really trying to say here is this:  Please check out the beautiful landscape photography work of my dear friend Chris Dahlquist!  Perhaps the book “Something More” will inspire you, too!  My new friend Stefanie is a gem for sharing it with me!  I love to smile!  And I’ve been listening to a lot of music by Kyle Reid from Oklahoma lately!

CHEERS!

Kasey Rausch

July 24, 2015

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New Song Released with Victor & Penny and Their Loose Change Orchestra!

Click HERE to download “This Little Crow!” A portion of the proceeds from this song will go towards a college fund for Kasey Rausch’s daughter. Recorded in March 2015 by Rob Nold Audio, Kasey Rausch, with the pride of Kansas City, Victor & Penny and Their Loose Change Orchestra, “This Little Crow” is a song written by Kasey for all you parents out there who have “babies” about to fly. It’s about being so proud to “cut the apron strings” as you recognize that you’ve raised your young’n up just fine and it’s time to watch them take off in flight. It’s a song for my daughter, Kaya, as she graduates high school in May and takes to the wind for a grand new adventure in life…As of today, April 22, 2015, “This Little Crow” is available for download only through BandCamp (and soon CDBaby!)  We’re asking for $3 per download which is a bit unconventional for a single song price, we know, but here’s what you get for that price:  music to keep for the rest of your life, a warm fuzzy heart for knowing that you contributed to a young woman’s college education fund, AND a bonus goose-bumpy feeling because you also contributed to the direct support of Kansas City musicians. Imagine, you could spend that $3 on a single black cup of coffee and it’s gone in 30 minutes…  Thanks for choosing music and community!  Soon, the song will be available for a typical single song price through iTunes, Amazon and all the usual suspects for downloads,but your support through BandCamp and CDBaby for $3 or more is so greatly appreciated. THANKS!IMG_0641This Little Crow - Kasey Rausch Victor and Penny - Natalie McLaws

My Time at the Grand Ole Opry

Photo by Natalie McLaws
Photo by Natalie McLaws

I got a chance to sing on the Grand Ole Opry stage!  Whew!  There.  I shouted it.  I tried starting this story a couple times but nothing quite captured the joy I felt when I stepped on that historic circle.  It was mid-March and I was so glad to be able to spend my daughter’s senior year spring break with her and my niece.  We had been planning on bee-lining it for the ocean but the forecast looked iffy so the day before we were to be leaving town we got the notion to head to Nashville.  My long-time friend Lorie Jo opened her home and chauffeured us around a bit.  She dropped us off at the Opry that day for us to do the tourist thing — and the tourist thing we did.  We took pictures outside by the giant guitars, bought tickets for the tour (scored the very last three for the last tour of the day! Sorry to those folks right behind us. :/).  But when I stepped on that stage, it really didn’t matter that I was there just like every other tourist.  I was given an opportunity to sing – to exercise my  lungs and share a song with a group of people on this fine stage.  Thoughts ran through my mind as we winded through the back hallways, greenrooms, family rooms.  What shall I sing?  Singing one of my own songs just didn’t feel right at the moment for some reason.  I couldn’t pinpoint why.   The only person that kept running through my mind was my songwriting hero, Mr. Johhny Mullins.  But what of his songs?  They are all so beautiful, varied and numbered.  For a moment I considered his song “Nashville” (which the girls and I had been singing quite a lot while we were there) but I decided that maybe as a guest in their fine town, I should pick something that maybe wouldn’t be hurtful or sorrowful to them (“Nashville, where a lonely face is common place in Nashville.” – Johnny Mullins.)  So to honor two birds with one song (*smile*) I settled on “Blue Kentucky Girl,” a song that Johnny wrote specifically for the one and only Loretta Lynn.  I stood tall, (well as tall as my 5’2″ frame would let me), took a strong breath in and… sang.  I sang with all the joy I could offer.  A Capella. One verse. A memory for life.  Maybe if I ever earn my way on to the Grand Ole Opry stage I’ll share a song of my own.  Until then, I’ll hold on to that feeling and cherish that few moments spent with my kids, a handful of strangers, and empty seats in the Grand Ole Opry.

Studio time w/ Victor & Penny and a House Concert with John Statz!

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2015 | Studio time! House Concert!

I’ll start the day in the studio of Rob Nold Audio to record a brand new song with special guests Victor & Penny and Their Loose Change Orchestra (bassist Rick Willoughby and clarinet player James Isaac!)  This will be the first of a new series of singles I’ll be releasing this year.  The songs will be available for download only until the time comes that I have 10-12 songs done.  Then we’ll celebrate with an album release.  What fun!  I’ll be calling on some of my favorite bands and musicians from Kansas City and beyond to record a song with me.  The final album will be filled with some of the most beautiful people and music makers I know.  EXCITING!  

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF “THIS LITTLE CROW,” BY KASEY RAUSCH with VICTOR & PENNY and THEIR LOOSE CHANGE ORCHESTRA

SEND $3 via PAYPAL to junelightmusic [at] gmail [dot] com

Enter Code: KRVP  

WEDNESDAY EVENING | HOUSE CONCERT with JOHN STATZ | 7pm

Kasey Rausch plays solo to kick off the evening then passes the guitar on to John Statz of Colorado to celebrate the release of his new album, Tulsa.

For tickets and information contact ChristianAHankel [at] gmail [dot] com.

About John Statz:  After years of DIY touring everywhere from Eastern Europe to Mexico, the Wisconsinite who now resides in Colorado fell in with fellow Midwesterner Jeffrey Foucault, a critically acclaimed songwriter and veteran of the americana circuit. A fan of Statz’s last album (2012’s Old Fashioned, produced by Bo Ramsey), Foucault offered to produce his next record while the two were on tour together in Colorado.The resulting Tulsa is beautiful blend of soft americana and smooth folk with echoes of The Jayhawks and Whiskeytown. “John writes songs you can’t shake,” says Foucault. “They follow you around all day and run through your head at 3 a.m. Open hearted, horizon-line songs.”

“Jeff kicked my ass. He pushed me to crank out well-written songs,” continues Statz. “He’s such a great songwriter himself and I felt like I had to step up my game. And then there is the absolutely amazing band…” The band John speaks of features Billy Conway (Morphine) on drums, Mark Spencer (Son Volt) on electric guitars and pedal steel, Jeremy Moses Curtis (Booker T) on bass, Jeffrey Foucault on guitars and vocals, Caitlin Canty singing harmonies and Matt Lorenz on fiddle.