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The Journal Gazette

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Cassie Beer of Rosalind & the Way signs a contract alongside Miles Fulwider of the University of Saint Francis.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Cassie Beer, singer-songwriter with Rosalind & The Way, performed Feb. 8 at the University of Saint Francis's after signing the musical group the University's new Marble Lounge Records label.

Sunday, April 22, 2018 1:00 am

Project 'invigorating' for local band, singer says

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

Singer-songwriter Cassie Beer is standing in the hallway outside a recording studio where fellow members of Rosalind & the Way are recording pieces of their upcoming album with Marble Lounge Records, a student-run, interdisciplinary record label at the University of Saint Francis.

The funky beat of the track being worked on spills out of the burnt-orange studio with its wood floors and colorful carpet. Beer's voice, on playback, soars and drops, soars and drops, then soars again.

Students pop in and out of the control room, giving glimpses through the door of even more young people hard at work on this March night.

“They're so excited and they are prompt, professional, they have lots of great ideas, and it's kind of invigorating to be around their enthusiasm,” Beer says of the students working on the Marble Lounge project. “It's just this pure excitement for the world and they've been really great.”

She says the process has been a little chaotic for her band, but in a good way. It has pushed them to make decisions quickly about their sound as a group. The Americana/folk band includes Josh St. John on guitar, Nick Lubs on bass, Ian Pettit on drums and Nate Yaroslaski on keyboard.

Marble Lounge is a step up from when the band recorded its first EP, “What You Keep,” in Yaroslaski's basement with a borrowed microphone. 

“I've been honestly so surprised,” Beer says of the Marble Lounge experience. “The students are dreaming so much bigger than I think I do. So especially when it comes to what's possible, I think I can be more of a realist. And they have these really big expectations and it's good for me to push myself about what I believe is attainable and possible.”

She has been working not just with the music technology students, but also the Media Entrepreneurship Training in the Arts students on marketing, design and merchandising for the album.

Rosalind & the Way was chosen from 10 finalists to be Marble Lounge's first band. They signed with the label in February.

Beer laughs about the fact she didn't think they would be chosen.

She entered on a whim after someone had posted a message about the record label project on the group's Facebook page. It was late in the year and she forgot about it as the band members – all of whom have kids – had taken a break for the holidays.

When she got an email that they were in the top 10, she still didn't expect to be chosen. Even being asked to come in later didn't convince her.

“When they called me up for the meeting, I was totally like 'OK, they just want to tell me in person that we didn't get it,'” Beer says with a laugh.

The mother of three says she is more prepared now for being a musician than she would have been when she was younger, even though she says being a vocalist is still a lot of work for her.

She did a lot of work in church music and left that feeling doubtful about herself. A few years ago, Beer went into a studio to record some music on her own before forming a band. She didn't even know what she wanted to call herself.

Beer was coming off a rough time in her marriage and she had lost her job. Her husband said, “Well, when I write short stories about you, I call you Rosalind.”

“I was like, 'What! Oh, no,'” Beer says with humor. “But I went back and I read them, and I was just floored by the kind of person he saw me as and I was like, 'I want to be the kind of person you think I am. I want to aspire to that.'”

The Way, she took from J.D. Salinger's “Franny and Zooey.”

“(A character in the book is) going through a whole existential self-identity crisis, so it's kind of this whole idea again of a journey to be the best version of myself,” Beer says. 

The exploration of identity is featured heavily on the new album, she says. It looks at what the true parts of one's self are and questioning the authenticity of what you present to the world.

The album, “Legend or Myth,” will be released June 1 and be available as a CD, vinyl record and for streaming and download online. Two singles will be released Friday at a drop party downtown.

The singer says she hopes there are songs on it that people relate to. The band would like to start playing more throughout the Midwest, and Beer says they will “ride this train however far this takes us.”

“I'm 32, and if you'd told me that I'm 32 with three kids and a rock band – it's awesome,” she says. “I'm filling out the doctor's form and it's like, 'Occupation?' and I'm like, 'You're not going to believe me, but frontwoman.'”