In Session: Josh Casano

LATHAM – A splash of Americana, mixed with straightforward folk progressions and a very enjoyable, solid melody. This is the type of music you can become accustomed to listening to Josh Casano – especially with his newest single, “Ambrey (Evelyn’s Song),” released on May 1st. Chock-full with the typical milieu of instrumentation the genre is known for, the artist brings a very nice sense of familiarity to those that hear the tune. Clocking in at just over five minutes, and with nice passages of mandolin and lap steel, “Ambrey (Evelyn’s Song),” is a great example that with the right arrangement and flow of instrumentation, time seems to fly.

It was my pleasure to get a chance to sit down with Casano to talk not only about the single but also about what the future holds. Continue reading to catch our discussion.

Lucas Garrett: Hello, Josh! Thank you for sitting down with us tonight.

Josh Casano: Yes, my pleasure!

LG: How’re you doing?

JC: I’m good! How’re you?

LG: I’m doing well! For those reading this that may not know, why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?

JC: I am from Amsterdam, New York, and I now live in Latham. I am a high school music teacher at Schenectady High School, and I teach music production, guitar, and drumming. I’m also a performing musician as well.

LG: Nice. Now, I hear you’re quite proficient in classical guitar?

JC: Yep! When I got my music degree at St. Rose, my primary instrument was classical guitar.

LG: As a songwriter, does that knowledge translate?

JC: I’m not so sure you hear a lot of it in my writing; I don’t play a lot of fingerstyle. Lately, I haven’t played much in that vein.

LG: Do you think it influences the chord structure of your songs?

JC: I think it has a little influence there… I think it has a bigger influence on what I do when I’m playing a solo or how I’m going to move through chords.

LG: Voice leading, right?

JC: Yeah, pretty much.

LG: You have a new song that just came out, right?

JC: Yes! I released it on May 1st. It’s called “Ambrey (Evelyn’s Song).” Ambrey is her middle name; she’s my five-year old.

LG: It’s a very nice song, there’s a lot going on in there. I like it a lot.

JC: Thank you! There are some extra special Fam members contribute to it. Mike Thomas plays the lap steel on it, and my good friend, Matt Bruno, plays the mandolin. I know Matt… I used to live with Matt a long time ago. I’ve known Matt since 2002? Maybe? Now, he’s out in Washington; he teaches and plays in a band. He got a chance to record with Shakey Graves.

LG: Oh! Shakey Graves is amazing!

JC: Yeah You can hear Matt on “Good Police.”

LG: Awesome. I’ll have to re-listen to that. I’ve seen your name out and about, but I’m glad we got a minute to sit down and talk to you for a bit.

JC: Yeah, this is cool.

LG: The pandemic… Before the pandemic it seemed we were all doing our own thing; a revolving door of the same people at different venues. But, it’s a bit different now for a lot of people. The pandemic, though it’s still here…

JC: Yes, it is.

LG: …seems to be slowing down. How has it affected you as a performing artist and as a teacher?

JC: As a performing artist, it’s given me a lot of time to sit down and work on my own stuff. It got me into streaming for a while; taught me how to get my stuff out there other than being in a live show. I’ve been working a lot on recording and production, which is great because I’ve been taking that into the classroom. But, last year was real difficult. Last year I taught three upper-level ensemble choirs and a drumming class from my basement. From my studio. The arts were remote all year.

LG: That doesn’t sound like it’d be easy to pull off from one camera.

JC: Yeah, and this room was being built, so there were studs… There were no walls, it was just studs framed out with red sheets draped down. When I finally got the walls finished, it became my classroom.

LG: How do you feel, now that things are slowly returning back to normal?

JC: I feel pretty good. I mean, it’s still kind of hard. We’ve been lucky in our house, and I’m not trying to jinx that, but I’m trying to still take all the precautions. Places like The Strand in Hudson Falls, and Single Cut in Clifton Park, provide lots of space. It’s really comfortable for me to perform in places like that. I’m really looking forward to Nipperfest. I’m really looking forward to outdoor shows.

LG: You’ll also be playing the Crossings showcase, correct?

JC: Yep, that’s on July 21st.

LG: So, you’re getting back out there…

JC: Yep! Nice outdoor show. I was asked to do it last year, and we had that awful heatwave, so it was a better decision to not have the event.

LG: Nice, so you have “Ambrey (Evelyn’s Song).” Is that going to be part of an album?

JC: Yep! Josh Casano and the Fam are really getting closer to having the album finished. I’ve got a few songs that need a few touches and some of the other members of the Fam are going to be putting in… It’s members of my musical and blood family hanging out and helping my music.

LG: That’s a nice feeling though, isn’t it? When everything is more of a team effort.

JC: Yeah, it’s awesome! It pushes me to step it up a little bit. I’m learning a lot of things and I get to work with a lot of great people: David Gleason, Mike Lawrence, and Brian Chiappinelli from Bad Mothers have contributed. I’m really lucky.

LG: A lot of great players you have on this thing.

JC: Yeah!

LG: How do you feel about the duality of recording versus performance, being a musician?

JC: Yeah, it’s hard, man. I spend a lot of time down here, but I don’t usually get time until my kids go to sleep. I’ll wait until 8:30 pm – if I don’t fall asleep with my kids – and come downstairs to work on stuff. Sometimes I get time on the weekend to work on it, too, but performing definitely comes much easier than recording and mixing. My brother-in-law, Victor, and I… he appears on a few songs and we’re doing the mastering. We’re pretty much doing it all in-house.

LG: That’s a nice way to do it. DIY is the way to go a lot of the time.

JC: It can be. It’s nice. I don’t put myself on crazy deadlines. It’s a little more laidback for me. It’s a nice way to get my music out there.

LG: Thanks again for your time, Josh! Keep making music, man! I love it.

JC: Absolutely! Thank you!

LG: I’ll be in touch.  Take it easy.

JC: Have a goodnight!

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