I first discovered you in a
rockabilly style with the Casey
Sisters. Now youre back
with a solo album in a rhythmnblues
vein. Do you remember how and
when you discovered these styles
When I was growing up in the 1980s,
my father listened to rockabilly
and country artists of the 1950s
and my mother preferred the
Motown bands and 1960s soul.
I suppose I always had an
appreciation for older music,
because it was familiar. I really
began listening to the 1950s
styles when I was 18 and
performing as a Patsy Cline
impersonator. When I was doing
research for my role as Patsy, I
started learning more about the
other artists from the time
period that played similar music.
Were you in a musical
My father sang in a country band
with my uncle for a short time
when I was about 9 or 10 years
old, but he was never very
serious about being a musician.
My brother plays music
professionally. He sings and
writes songs for his pop/rock
I think much of our appreciation
for music came from our mother.
She is not very musical, but she
loves to listen to music and
always had a record playing on
the turntable when we were
the little Little Rachel use to
listen to ?
From a young age, I have liked
all kinds of music. My brother
always wanted to be a pop star.
Since he was my older brother, I
wanted to be like him. When I
first took an interest in
performing, I wanted to be a pop
singer, too. Somewhere, I have
pictures of me at various ages,
dressed as different pop
singers - Michael Jackson, Boy
George, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper,
etc. I did not
stop listening to Top 40 music
until I was about 12.
did you start playing music ?
I was singing at the family
Christmas parties since before I
can remember. I decided I wanted
to be a singer when I saw the
movie «Annie» at the age of 5,
but I didnt have my first
real stage performance for an
audience until I was 9. Like
Brenda Lee, I was a little girl
with a very big voice- I guess
that has not changed much!
Were you in other bands
before The Casey Sisters ?
Most of my performing experience
came from working at a dance
school and competing with their
song and dance troupe.
I did the Patsy Cline show for a
short while, and then I was in
one rockabilly band in Kansas
City before the Casey Sisters.
They did not approve of me
singing with Caroline, because
she was their singer before
I replaced her in the band. After
my first performance with
Caroline as the Casey
Sisters, I was asked to leave the
Youre from kansas
City but with the Casey Sisters
you moved to Austin, why ?
The first show we played was the
talent show at the Viva Las Vegas
Weekender in 2000. We were living
in different cities, and singing
in our own bands. We only learned
2 songs for the show- just for
fun- and we never expected to
make much more of it. Wildfire
Willie (Jan Svensson) was in the
audience with Lars Strandheim,
the owner of Tail Records, and
insisted that Lars should bring
us to Sweden to record for Tail.
At that point, we knew we had an
opportunity to make the Casey
Sisters in to a successful band,
but we needed to be in the same
city to work on our songs. Austin
seemed like a good choice for
both of us, because there were a
lot of great musicians there to
work with and to give us
talk about the new record. Is
this a project you wanted to do
for a long time ?
I decided I wanted to make this
record about 3 years ago. I had
been singing rockabilly for a
while, so I wasnt sure
where to start. I just knew I
wanted to sing the music that
came from my soul, and I wanted
people to enjoy listening to it
as much as I enjoy singing it.
your first «love» ?
I love any music that comes from
the heart or expresses a feeling
or emotion, and I also love music
that is fun. I think my first «love»
was rock n roll, because it
is both of those things. I have
always loved R&B, because it
is the mother of rock n
roll, and it allows me to express
the more soulful qualities of my
seen in your bio that you learned
guitar to write and teach your
It is very difficult to write the
melody of a song when you dont
play an instrument. I have always
struggled with playing
instruments, because I was
actually born with a neurological
disorder called «mirror movement»
which caused a physical handicap
with my hands. I was very
determined to make this record,
so I learned enough chords to
write melodies- but you wont
ever see me play guitar on stage?!
is your songwriting technique ?
Do you get the words or the
melody first ?
As for my songwriting technique,
I usually pick a song I like the
sound and feeling of for
inspiration. Ill take a
similar feel and write lyrics to
go with the melody. When I create
my own lyrics, add my own style,
and organize it with a band, it
becomes a completely new song.
Eva Eastwood also wrote a
bunch of songs. How did it happen
It took a while to learn the
guitar and start writing songs. I
was getting impatient, and I
wanted to start recording, but I
didnt have enough songs for
the record. Rather than do a
bunch of covers, I would rather
take the opportunity to share new
songs from other talented
songwriters. I met Eva Eastwood
through our common affiliation
with Tail Records. I adore her.
She is a brilliant and very
active songwriter, and a generous
artist that is always willing to
help out another musician. I knew
she was the perfect person to
contact, because she writes so
many great songs, she cant
even record them all herself?! As
I predicted, she was very kind
when I asked for her help, and
sent me a demo of about 20 songs.
I chose the ones that were most
appropriate for an R&B
record, and I think they are some
of the best tracks I have. I
imagine more of the songs she
sent will be on the next Casey
are your influences as a singer
and a songwriter ?
My early influences as a singer
include anything from Patsy Cline
to Tina Turner. As I became more
interested in 1950s- style
music, I was most inspired by
Janis Martin, Marti Brom, Winona
Carr, Nick Curran, and Etta James.
As for songwriters, some of my
favorites include Hank Williams,
Leiber and Stoller, Don Cavalli,
and Eva Eastwood. They all write
different kinds of songs, but
they all write songs that can
express a feeling in a simple
language that everyone can
understand and relate to.
was the biggest challenge for you
with this record ?
I lost my voice the first time I
set up the recording session, so
I had to postpone the record
another couple of months. This
style of music is much more
strenuous to sing than
rockabilly, and I was afraid my
voice wouldnt be able to
make it through an entire session.
It was difficult, but I did it.
And the biggest
Since Caroline wrote most of the
songs for the Casey Sisters, I
felt inexperienced in my
songwriting. It was a big step
for me to learn some guitar and
start sharing my songs with
people. I am really proud of the
way my original songs turned out.
Of course, I owe a lot of credit
to a fabulous band and my
wonderful producer, Billy Horton.
I think Billy is brilliant
because he can take my ideas and
translate them in musician speak
to the band, so that they play it
exactly as I was hearing it in my
mind. Of course, only a great
band could play it just the way
he tells them. So, aside from
overcoming the songwritng
obstacle, my biggest achievement
was choosing the perfect people
to work with to get the sound I
advice would you give to a new
Do what you love to do, and dont
be afraid to try something new.
If you had to choose a
record in your collection and say
« Buy it folks, you wont
regret it « Which one would it
be and why ?
Of course- «Little Rachel-
Cause I Feel Good»,
because there arent any new
records like it out there. It
will make you smile, it will make
you cry, make you dance, and make
you sigh- it is a record for
last word ?
Thank you so much for the honor
of sharing my words with your
excellent publication. I really
appreciate your contribution to
keeping the music I love alive!
forget to take a look at www.littlerachel.net and www.myspace.comlittlerachel