Perpetual Change — Trans Music Makers

| Oct 24, 2016

Shine by Ryan Cassata, CD Review

shine_cvrWe introduced Ryan Cassata to TGForum readers with an interview posted here in October of 2013, with a follow up review of his CD Jupiter, It Won’t Be Long the following November. In April of this year, a single song review of his track Gender Binary was also posted. His latest project, entitled Shine, has been out for a while now. Due to scheduling circumstances, space has just now become available for us to post this latest review.

I have to admit this is another one of those projects that took me surprise. While Ryan is known primarily as a solo singer/songwriter, he’s also a very well known anti-bullying activist and an actor. With this new project, he manages to work in more than one genre quite competently. He delves into rock, country, laid back acoustic material and even rap. He also includes two covers of well known tunes.

The rock tunes are We’re The Cool Kids and Sunrise Highway. Bedroom Eyes is more light rock which is somewhat reminiscent of late ‘60s, early ‘70s folk rock. Think in terms of bands such as The Byrds, Mason Prophet, Burrito Brothers.

The rap tunes are the title cut, and Check Engine.

cassatta03One of the outstanding tracks is Don’t Count Me Out. It’s one of the more laid back acoustic tunes and I feel it offers his best vocal performance and also showcases one of the better production moments of the entire CD. It would also make a great anthem for younger members of the LGBT community.

The country tunes are Hot Springs Arkansas and the one thing I didn’t expect, Alcatraz, which is almost pure country.

The two covers are Michael Jackson’s Man In The Mirror (written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard) and the Counting Crows tune Round Here (written by Adam Duritz) This song closes the album out with just vocal and piano, but is another of Ryan’s better vocal moments on the project.

cassatta01While I’m not familiar with Ryan Cassata’s entire catalog of work, I know that when an artist feels secure enough to mix genres on a project, and is competent enough to do every song justice, that artist has reached a level of creative maturity that only comes with time. And, in the case of Ryan Cassata, we can expect him to only get better and better at his craft.

Ryan Cassata did all lead vocals and played acoustic and electric guitar and keyboard. Drums were by Kenny Truhn. Additional guitar, slide guitar and mandolin were played by Jonathon Jetter. Barb Morrison produced the project, as well as playing bass, guitar, and horns. Backing vocals provided by Rebecca Pritchard, Fran Cassata, Barb Morrison and Jonathon Jetter.

For more information, please check Ryan’s website. Also on YouTube, instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Soundcloud.


Rev. Yolanda

Rev. Yolanda

Rev. Yolanda

Rev. Yolanda’s newest project, Country Gospel Kirtan Vol.2 Step Back, will be available as digital downloads in November, with the physical CD due out in December. A sneak peek of a new song, Let Go Of Grievances is available on SoundCloud. There is also an Indiegogo fund raising push on right now in regard to raising what is needed to complete video for the project.

And, as if the good Rev. isn’t busy enough, Yolanda’s acting career is starting to get serious. Her character of Glenn Reade on the web series Skeleton Crew is now a recurring role. Glenn is an elderly crossdresser who has been placed in a mental hospital by his adult children who think he’s lost his mind. Now this I’ll have to check out.

Georgie Jessup

Georgie Jessup is gearing up for a big gig at Edith May’s Paradise on December 17. The evening will be a holiday open mic and party. There are some other gigs you might want to check out as well in the coming months.

Calpernia Addams



Calpernia has recently posted several new videos on YouTube. She has started a new series known as the Nooner Podcast.

Hedwig And The Angry Inch

The national tour of Hedwig And The Angry Inch, with Darren Criss and Lena Hall in the lead roles, started earlier this month. Until Oct. 30, the show will be at the Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco, and in Los Angeles from Nov. 1 through the 27th at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s newest CD release, Joanne, just came out this past week. The first released single is A-Yo, and is now available on Spotify, Apple, iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. [Editor’s Note: Lady Gaga gave great performances of two songs from the new album on Saturday Night Live this past Saturday.]


Ultraviolet (EP) by Dagny

Dagny is a Norwegian singer/songwriter who has just released her debut project in the form of a 5 song EP. Prior to this, she is credited with the near anthem-like Backbeat which came out in 2015.

The entire EP is all up-tempo material. Four of the tunes — Ultraviolet, Too Young, Fight Sleep and Fool’s Gold (ft. Borns) are light rock. The one in-your-face rocker is the aforementioned Backbeat. This is perhaps her best vocal on the project and is definitely the most dynamic.

I’ve noticed that most up and coming female vocalists of late are more prone to delve into the dance music genre than anything else. Not so with Dagny. This lady is a rocker and well worth your time to check out. Dagny is on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

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Category: Music

Pam Degroff

About Pam Degroff: Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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