Music Maker Kasey Rausch
An old photograph in Kasey Dawn Rausch’s family depicts her grandmother with trombone, Aunt Delores at a piano, and her great-grandfather with a banjo. A sign in the background reads “Home Sweet Home.” The image confirms that musical influences have spanned generations in the Rausch family. Rausch lives up to this family tradition as a self-described “music maker.” She draws on this rich heritage while crafting her own approach to the heartfelt storytelling that inhabits her songs. The title of her first CD, Born Near the Waters, refers to her origins as a Kansas City native. Musically, Rausch dips into the Americana traditions of folk and bluegrass, but also taps the inner well of stories drawn from her experiences in Texas and the Midwest.
Home and Heritage
We agreed to meet at an independent coffee shop north of the river near Rausch’s home. Her young daughter Kaya has been sick off and on lately. Standard winter colds and bugs picked up from other children. The mild illness nearly threw a wrench in our scheduled interview. Fortunately, Rausch’s mother agreed to watch Kaya for an hour while Rausch and I met. This brief anecdote underscores two fundamental aspects of Rausch’s character, upbringing, and livelihood: the support of family and the love for making music.
"Kaya is a huge inspiration. She’s amazingly supportive for an eight-year-old girl [who turns nine in December]. As long as I’m open and talk to her about playing shows, she understands," says Rausch. "When she was three, she used to be jealous of the guitar when I picked it up to practice or play.”
Her daughter gradually learned how music and instruments formed an essential part of their heritage during family gatherings. Various relatives still gather after holiday meals and regular visits to make music and cause a big commotion for all to enjoy. “Music is the best way to communicate with my extended family. My dad’s side has 6 brothers, 18 grandchildren, and his parents,” says Rausch. “I’m grateful for my family and the way I was raised. I’m blessed to be born into this family that’s so supportive.”
Rausch has brown eyes and flowing brown hair well past her shoulders. She’s petite and smiles plenty with genuine warmth. She speaks with a faint but perceptible accent that springs from her younger days growing up in Livingston, Texas. Rausch moved there with her family at the age of four and spent about fourteen years in the Lone Star State.
“I’ve never felt like Texas was home until I left. Now sights and smells remind me of my childhood," says Rausch. "Kansas City has always been home. When my older sister left Texas to come back to Kansas City, I returned a year later. Then my parents came back. Texas is where I was formed and shaped. So I do claim Texas more than I did, but every place I’ve been to is part of my inner home.”
Today, Rausch also considers home as the place where her family lives in Kansas City. The extended clan remains close and celebrates many family events together. After living in Texas and traveling as a musician, a feeling of familiarity with her surroundings reinforces the stability of home.