It happens every gig.
"Hey, so you must be Rosalind?"
"Uh, no. Yes, kind of? But no. I'm Cassie."
"Oh...so, who is Rosalind?"
I thought it was time to answer that question properly.
Back in the summer of 2015 I was, as they say, a mess. I had just left my job in a ball of flames, I had wounded my marriage and my loved ones, and I wasn't sure what I believed (if I believed?) about anything anymore. The only possible next steps I could make out were to practice radical self care, to focus on loving my family...and to make music. The first two each have their own stories, but for the sake of brevity we shall focus on the making music bit.
I had some songs and I had some cash, so I went to a local recording studio and recorded five tracks. Just me, my guitar, Jason smiling behind the glass, and Dan Middleton offering tidbits of advice and letting me borrow his Gibson J-45 for a track. Two weekends in a stormy July, fighting through a sinus infection, finally recording these little songs I felt needed to be heard.
Sometime during the two weeks of waiting for the tracks to be mastered, Jason and I were spending an afternoon, side by side, ripping out our rotted wooden deck. Ripping out the old, making room for the new. I mentioned how I didn't know exactly what I wanted to call myself for this little EP I was crafting, and he replied,
"Well, whenever I write about you in my stories, I call you Rosalind."
Sometime that evening or week I went back and read those stories, with this character he says is based on me. I remember looking over them, in silent tears, amazed that when my husband looked at me he saw such strength, such creativity, such wit, such steadfastness and beauty. He had loved "As You Like It" by Shakespeare as well, and felt that his heroine Rosalind reminded him of me as well. At that moment, I knew I wanted to truly be the kind of person Jason saw me as. The best, the truest version of myself.
Rosalind it was.
But it didn't stop there.
I was also, in that summer of '15, in the middle of my annual return to Salinger's "Franny & Zooey." In the book, Franny is reading a book called "The Way of The Pilgrim," and she's questioning her decision to be an actress. She's frustrated because everyone seems so phony, like everyone around her is always trying to put on a big act all the time: looking busy on the outside but empty on the inside. It's marvelous, and my favorite book of Salinger's, and I'll let you read it for yourself except to share this quote that has always stuck with me: "an artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anybody else's." I knew that at this crucial moment in my life, I needed to figure out the next steps on my own terms: to create, to question, to grow, to be vulnerable.
To find the way.
So, I guess you could say that Rosalind & the Way is a journey to be the absolute best version of myself, on my own terms.
And, amazingly, it has become a story much bigger than myself. Jason still inspires me to pull out the diamonds hidden in the rough of my mess. And along have come these four dudes (and their beautiful families) who are not only incredibly talented musically, but each have their own stories of discovering purpose and meaning in their lives, through the hurt and pain of it all.
Well, there you have it. It's no elevator pitch. It's kind of all over the place and I haven't really found the most graceful way to weave it into the awkward things I say between songs during a set, but that's the heart of it. This band has given me a voice and a challenge to be the best version of myself while trying to sort of all the questions and hardships in life. It's exactly where I want to be, and I've got more to say. It's how we filter each lyric of each song, and we hope that the message shines through somehow, in some little ways.
So am I Rosalind? I sure as hell hope I'm getting closer.