When he is not playing and performing with Che-Val, Kenny Cascioli, aka Kenny Cash, is the owner of Factory Underground Studio, a Norwalk-CT based recording studio, where he produces records and composes music for film and television licensing. His wife Laura, the singer of Che-Val, who Kenny describes as “the real brains of the operation,” is a teacher of Chemistry at New Canaan High School in New Canaan, CT. Together they are a musical power couple that has been described as the “Indie Pop Ashford and Simpson.”
That Kenny and Laura would set out to commemorate a special time in their lives with a musical event is no surprise-music has always been the cornerstone foundation of their relationship and marriage. For it to mark the coming arrival of their new daughter Giabella, and for the event to be a recording session in the third trimester of Laura’s pregnancy, reveals how musical life actually is in the Cash family household.
“When I first met Kenny [at the Factory Underground,] I was there to record some demo-songs and he was my engineer. I remember he was wearing a Prince Purple Rain shirt, and he was blown away that I had never seen the movie. That might have been it right there,” recalled Laura. “Until he realized I was as serious about music as he was. It was music that brought us together.”
When the couple received the news that they were expecting a child, in between family celebrations, doctor’s appointments, building a Purple Rain-themed nursery (yes, really), there were immediate plans to commemorate the experience with a new live album.
“We wanted it to be a mix of our original music and some covers that were really personal to us,” Kenny said. “We wanted to keep it simple, piano and live vocal, just to capture the incredible joy of the moment, to have a snapshot we could look back on in years to come.”
Kenny performed the songs on a Wurlitzer Baby Grand Piano, and Laura sang in the same room at his side. The performances were captured on video by Aidan Gerety and Tom Stewart of the Factory Underground Video Production crew. The six songs included “The Lead” and “I’m Yours,” previously released as part of Che-Val’s debut album “Waterproof,” and four cover songs including "Say Something" by A Great Big World, "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, "The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson and a Prince Medley which including "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore," "Beautiful Ones," and "Nothing Compares to You."
Releasing “The Lead” this week on the "Factory Underground Live" YouTube channel that song becomes the second song from the album released to the public. A black and white video of “Hallelujah” is also available on YouTube.
The recording did not come without difficulties: “Singing while pregnant proved to be really difficult,“ Laura recalls. “We spent weeks preparing and yet it was becoming harder to sing. Vocal cords swell and don’t respond as well, plus there are difficulties breathing. At seven months it was finally now or never. So I’m really proud of what we accomplished working together as a family. This was our daughter Giabella’s first recording session- definitely not her last.”
Of course, through it all, the real star of the show- the youngest member of the “Cash” family who inspired the album from the first note to the last- one beautiful Giabella Cascioli, born 5 lbs and 8 ounces on April 13, 2017.
"I remember feeling her get very calm inside me as I was singing "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore." It's still seems to be her favorite song. It figures it had to be a Prince song," Laura said. "Like father like daughter."