By Mike Phillips
Rachel Cashman, singer, songwriter, musician and Vicksburg native, has just released a new album, Elements. In part a celebration of her time living here, the album was recorded at a studio near her home in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Rachel has been writing songs ever since she was a teenager. She started playing guitar and singing in church when she was 13. By the time she hit high school, music was everything—she was active in both choir and theater. At 15, she was recording her own original material. Since then, she has become a prolific songwriter, estimating that she has written between 75 and 100 songs.
As with most artists, getting by requires more than just being creative. Rachel went to college after high school, then on to graduate school for a master’s degree in counselling. Currently, she is a clinical mental health therapist in private practice in Fort Wayne. Even though she has a full-tilt professional and family life, of late she is intent upon rekindling her love of music, songwriting and performing; hence the new album, her first in 10 years. It was recorded and produced at Silverbirch Studios in Fort Wayne, a state-of-the-art facility with a growing international reputation. Rachel reports that she worked with capable and empathetic audio engineers. She is very pleased with how well the new songs turned out.
On her album she sings and harmonizes along with her vocals. She also plays guitar and ukulele. Her songs are acoustic and folksy and well-crafted. Her voice is lovely, and her instrumental prowess is solid. Rachel’s songs are whimsical, reassuring affirmations of life. The new album also includes a duet with her father. This song, “Grasshopper Hill” is a celebration of both her family and the community here where she grew up: “One of the songs on the album is about my parent’s home (the house I grew up in) on WX Ave in Vicksburg. My dad, Bob Donelson, is singing on the track with me. Vicksburg is a very special place and I loved growing up there and I think the lyrics reflect that!“
In addition to recording and performing live, Rachel hopes to use her music as an extension of her counseling profession: “It’s cool to combine the love of music with a career in mental health care.” She hopes that her songs might be of some therapeutic use for both her clients and for mental health advocacy.
Rachel will be performing on Saturday, July 29 at The Distant Whistle. She is looking forward to the gig. “It will be a full circle moment. I first played there back when it was Boundary Waters Coffee House.” Copies of her new album will be available at her performance. Some of her songs are also currently available on line at Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music.
By Mike Phillips