Family Festival Spotlight – Casey McCleary on Harmonies and Guitar!

Casey McCleary on harmonies and guitarWhen inspiration suddenly struck our family in the form of “Stay in the Pool” early in the summer, we knew we had to arrange, record and release that song quickly to get it out to radio while it could still be enjoyed in summer. A few nights after the first draft of the lyrics and tune were written, I asked the band to drop our agenda of rehearsing existing songs to concentrate on this new number. Casey came up with a classic doo-wop-soul harmony that really gives the song a special summertime feel. She put her stamp on the song, just like that!

Casey was brought into the band with a difficult task, to carry out the parts that were arranged with a previous harmony vocalist and be able to own those harmony parts, and she proved in the audition process she could do it. She battled through the nerves anyone would have in their first gig with a new, original band. But now, “Stay in the Pool” was a turning point because her creative abilities were on full display, to imagine harmonies that hadn’t occurred to me. Casey continues to thrive in the band as she comes up with new harmonies to our new songs and truly owns the parts that were created before her. Watching her stage presence develop along with her familiarity with our music has been a pleasure.

We gave “Cross-country Casey” her nickname because of the extraordinary amount of travel she does for her job. It’s pretty typical that she’ll make a day trip to Michigan or Ohio for work and then come to rehearsal. I’m just glad her busy schedule includes time to make music with the Jungle Gym Jam. She is also actively involved with the Verona Drum Circle and occasionally performs solo acoustic at the Children’s Institute in Verona.

Casey will take the stage with me at the release celebration of our album “Everyone’s Invited!” this Sunday, Jan. 26 at Just Jake’s at 11:30 AM.

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