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Matthew’s Place

#MusicMonday Review: Ryan Cassata’s The Witches Made Me Do It

by Jordan Taylor Dubin

If there was a way to simultaneously sit next to someone else’s love and pain, the closest thing would be Ryan Cassata’s The Witches Made Me Do It. Co-written with Jeni McKenna and produced by Jason Hiller, the album provides a new sound that audiences haven’t heard from Cassata before. He clearly sheds and bares his soul in a different way than he has with his previous four albums.

The album features eight songs, totaling about 40 minutes. It’s deep. It’s raw. It’s genuine. It’s authentic. It’s real. For example, the title song and fourth track, The Witches Made Me Do It, tells the audience a love story in the time of adversity. The sound is nothing we have heard from Cassata before. There is a clear hip-hop influence backed by piano. It’s a beautiful piece to add to his collection of stories. The third track, Catcher in the Rye, speaks to audiences as Ryan tells his story of falling in love after a traumatic past filled with bullying, hate crimes, and his lack of feeling safe in his conservative hometown. I have listened to Catcher in the Rye at least 20 times now, and I have finally been able to make it through without tears. It speaks to me, and I guarantee it will speak to others. I have been bullied my whole life, and have recently lost a dear friend as they finally revealed their negative thoughts towards the LGBTQ+ community, a community I am a third-generation member of, and very proud to be. While Catcher in the Rye speaks of Ryan’s history and experiences being queer, this song can easily be translated to any sort of bullying and/or feeling so hurt and out of place wherever you are in life, both physically and emotionally.

It is so visible that each of these songs comes from the heart and soul of both Ryan Cassata and Jeni McKenna. Each song is different from the next, but can also be seen as a story, each song a different chapter. The audience will not be lost. They are brought into Ryan’s history, Ryan and Jeni’s story, etc. and are gifted with beautiful storytelling in every song. Ryan’s music is a gift.

It’s truly for everyone, no matter what they are going through — everyone has a moment that can be related back to a Ryan Cassata song. For sure.

About the Author:

Jordan Nickel-Dubin is an actor, theatrical mover, writer, teacher, and huge musical theatre nerd. She was born and raised in Southern California and is now living out her 13-year dream of living in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance & Theatre Performance and Psychology from Mills College in Northern California. During the day she works as a theatre teacher and a staff associate at a college, and at night she’s an editing manager and freelance copy editor. Jordan is third-generation LGBTQ+, and the daughter of the co-founder of COLAGE (Children Of Lesbians And Gays Everywhere). She is thrilled to have the opportunity to write for Matthew’sPlace.com.

You can find Jordan on Twitter @_arts_n_smarts_.

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Matthew's Place

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MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email patrick@matthewshepard.org

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