Ryan Cassata has quite a story to tell. Not only is he a 19-year-old outspoken transgender but a motivational speaker on the topic of equality, but an accomplished singer/songwriter who addresses real-life topics with socially-charged lyrical matter through anecdotal acoustic tracks. On the cusp of his teens, he has released his third volume of songs on Jupiter, It Won’t Be Long–8-tracks of acoustic strum melody over emotive lyrics and his eclectic vocal delivery.
Opening to the terse ditty “I Don’t Really Want To Go To College” with opening pick work before surrendering to frantic strum and his stark upper-range vocal delivery. Even in its brevity, you can tell from a songwriting standpoint, this is a kid beyond his years in what is really just a short number about self-reflection. “Liberation” follows the same format with vocal/acoustic tandem but the sing-songy delivery of the track belies a deeper-seeded meaning confronting those with addictions. “Dear Lucas” recounts a past experience from a music camp he attended when one of the fellow students there had to be removed from the camp only to be institutionalized. This acoustic number is an belated extended hand (as Ryan is used to doing) to help his classmate if only he had known the pain he was experiencing. Again, the ethos of the album is one of hope and as the tracks progress this theme becomes as intertwined in the tracks as much as the musicality and vocals. The slightly autobiographical “The Mob’s Rolling Cadillac” addresses growing up in Italian-American communities and the Mob portrayal of the lifestyle through the lyrical matter and staccato strum guitar. “Sobering Up” is a demure self-explanatory track about all things addiction proclaiming at the chorus: “We’re all addicted to something…”
Emotive, praiseworthy and a self-aware dynamo is the only way to describe Ryan, his album and his courage. Inspirational and heartfelt tracks coupled with Ryan’s innate desire to help really overshadow the fact that not only can he play one hell of a guitar, but he can also write one hell of a song. Hats off to this kid… simply, there should be more stories like this in music.
by Chris West – firstname.lastname@example.org
I give this 3.5 Skopes.