Courtesy of Paul Andrews
By Jonas Weir
Kasey Rausch has Missouri roots as deep as the Big Muddy itself.
She was born in Missouri, and though her father’s job took her family to east Texas when she was just four, Parkville in Platte County has always been a home to her.
“I would come back to Parkville every summer, from usually the day after school let out to the day before school started,” Kasey says.
“Two days after I graduated high school in 1993, I was back in Parkville.”
Parkville is where this folk singer’s career was born. Although she got her first guitar at age eight and started playing at age twelve, Kasey’s first performance was in the summer of 1990 with her uncle Terry Rausch and her great-uncle Larry Ford—Platte County country pickin’ legends, according to Kasey. She was just fifteen when the group played its last song, “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash, to a lively crowd.
“The Parkville train whistle blew, and the crowd erupted into this ‘woo-hoo,’ ” she says. “It’s really affected me. This is a really powerful moment we’re all experiencing here.”
Today, that same Americana songwriter with an angelic voice calls Kansas City home. From there, Kasey writes music and hosts a radio program called River Trade Radio on KKFI 90.1 FM with her best friend, Mikal Shapiro. Kansas City also served as the home base for her successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $7,500 to fund her latest album, Guitar in Hand.
On the album, Kasey explores the topics she knows and loves. “Sweet Missouri” is an ode to her home state. “The Gospel of Winfield” is a reference to Winfield, Kansas, which is home to the legendary Walnut Valley bluegrass festival. “An East Texas Day” pays tribute to her formative years in the Lone Star State. However, one song has resonated with Kasey more than ever lately.
“Moonshiner’s Dream” is a made-up tale of an Ozarks moonshiner. Kasey was inspired to write the song after visiting Copper Run Distillery in Walnut Shade, where owner Jim Blansit gave her a private tour of the still. However, more than a year after the visit and months after the song was released, “Moonshiner’s Dream” has taken on new meaning after a distant relative reached out to Kasey via Facebook.
On her website and Facebook page, Kasey proudly displays a grainy, old photo of her great-grandfather Arley Delp playing banjo with his sisters Lela and Macie Delp. Recently, a distant relative, whose great-grandfather is also Arley Delp, messaged Kasey to tell her the Delp family story: Arley was a moonshiner, and when things became too heated in his hometown of Thornfield and he feared for his family’s safety, the Delps left the Ozarks.
“’I’ve always felt deeply connected to the Ozarks, and I knew I had family roots there, but I just didn’t have a lot of information on that family or why they left,” Kasey says. “I wrote this story that sounded like it could be my great-grandfather’s story, and I didn’t even know it.”
Kasey has now formed a Facebook group with relatives to further explore her family’s history in southern Missouri. And with her daughter leaving for college in the fall, Kasey is going to have more time than ever to explore pursuits like this However, she wants to spend the bulk of her time writing, recording, and going on the road.
“My daughter goes off to college in the fall, and it opens up my world to do a lot more traveling,” she says. “I’m already back in the studio working on new songs. That’s a really good feeling because it was about seven years since I released the last record and the one before it.”