FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Rich Odato
TAMPA BAY, Fla.–A soccer mom, a hair band survivor, and a semi-retired classic rock sound engineer walk into a studio. 14 songs later, they emerge with “Heart over Head,” a genre-jumping debut album full of sweet, soulful vocals, uplifting lyrics and stories, and music that spans indie Americana, folk rock, and retro country, with hints of bluegrass, blues, and R&B.
Cassie Jean Barbaresi and Rich Odato are the songwriting duo at the core of Cassie Jean and the Fireflies. Partners in life and music, they made a fateful decision in 2020 to completely forgo cover gigs and ride out the pandemic in their home studio. It wasn’t long before the quality and quantity of new songs–fueled by Cassie’s prolific lyric writing–outpaced the pair’s meager production skills. Enter Bud Snyder of Baysound Studios, a Grammy-winning producer/engineer known for his work with the Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule, Gregg Allman and many others.
Cassie, Rich, and Bud recognized that they had something special that needed the right players and the right treatment. For primary recording, they added session and symphony orchestra bassist John Miller, along with YouTube star drummer Sammy “Barefoot” Warren. They recorded the songs at the storied Baysound Studios in Sarasota (formerly Tel-Star), with Snyder as producer/engineer, and Bob Frank as mixer.
Followup sessions in Nashville, co-produced by Snyder and Grammy winner Phil Wolfe, saw the addition of hall-of-famer Joe Spivey on fiddle and mandolin, and Wolfe on Hammond B3 organ. For finishing touches, they returned to Baysound and added backup vocal performances by Taylor Opie and Vincent Colaiocco, and percussion by Garrett Dawson. Then they sent the album to classic rock legend Rodney Mills for mastering.
Cassie is a devoted mother of three, and a former All-American soccer player who still plays on competitive leagues while also coaching her sons’ teams. She brings the intensity of an elite athlete to her songwriting and performances, along with a high-energy personality that inspires everyone around her. Cassie’s life has been filled with triumphs and tragedies, and they’re all fair game as sources for lyric inspiration. A naturally talented musician, she and Rich collaborate on the arrangements, with him adding to the melodies and structure based on his many years as a performing guitarist. For this album, Rich played acoustic and electric guitars, but mostly focused on combining fingerpicking and slide styles on a resonator.
From the beginning, Cassie and Rich have been committed to “let each song take us where it wants to go.” The result is an album that’s fresh and delightfully hard to classify. Within the album, songs might group together as follows:
“Road Trip Americana” (rolling down the road, relaxing in the sun, getting things done): Tomorrow, Long Way Round, Turn the Page
“Retro Country Americana” (Hank Williams grooves with Cassie Jean sass): Ain’t Nobody Gonna Bother Me, Hold On Tight, We’re Going for a Ride, What Are We Waiting For
“Contemporary Americana” (positive vibes with fresh blends of music traditions): Mrs. Mavis, Heart over Head
“Gulf Coast to Muscle Shoals” (roots rock with southern soul): I’ve Got You, All My Life, Grammy’s Chicken Soup
“Blues Rock” (not your father’s blues tracks): The Remedy, Sun Don’t Rise (Just to Hear You Crow), Quick Trip to Hell
At a time when so many songwriters are using precise formulas to produce rose garden-uniform compositions, Cassie Barbaresi’s lyrics and melodies burst forth like a field of fresh wildflowers. Her songs are full of passion, promise, triumph, hope–and natural hooks that make each song pleasing and memorable.
“Heart over Head” is now available to buy or stream on most major music platforms worldwide. To learn more, visit cassiejeanandthefireflies.com.