Southern Indiana native, Brooke McKasson, is a traditional singer whose musical background has a broad scope both in instrument and genre. From her musical beginnings as a singer in her hometown church (where her father was music director and pianist), she went on to study classical flute and obtained a degree in Music Therapy from the University of Evansville. Shortly after college she moved to Southern California where she met her husband, fiddler Ryan McKasson. In 2003, they relocated to the Pacific Northwest where she began exploring Celtic and American traditional folk music, recording and touring nationwide with The McKassons to critical acclaim. The Boston Globe described her voice as an “in your ear mezzo,” and Brooke has drawn from a deep well of influences to develop her own songful approach. Growing up singing hymns in church, especially those from the Reformed tradition (Isaac Watts, William Cowper, and Joseph Hart), her goal with the Rest Assured project is to carry on the work she began with the McKassons reworking the inherited lyrics of the past into a genuine, contemporary setting. Lifted up by the rich theological truths shown throughout these works, she finds great fulfillment in adapting the weighty hymnody into a familyroom ambiance. Brooke currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband (fiddler, Ryan McKasson), and their four children.
Cathy Steere lives with her husband and two sons in the Puget Sound area. She is the author of Too Wise to Be Mistaken, Too Good to Be Unkind: Christian Parents Contend With Autism. She works in marketing and sales support for a local small business, and if the time allows, she hopes to someday improve her skills on the guitar, mandolin, and ukulele. Having been referred to as a prolific tune-writer, it brings her an immense feeling of satisfaction seeing a tune she wrote for an old hymn wind its way through the process of creative arrangement, development of harmonies, and use of added instrumentation, to a completed bonafide recording. Three of Cathy's tunes can be found on the Rest Assured Hymns debut album. She feels blessed and humbled to have been invited to participate in the Rest Assured Hymns project, counting it a sometimes arduous, yet worthy, endeavor. She looks forward to creating and collaborating on even more hymns of theological substance, all of which are meant to provoke thought in the minds of God's people, provide comfort to the hearts of weary saints, and ultimately bring glory to our great God and King.
Christi Naler is a native Texan who started her music learning early in front of giant fabric-covered speakers, absorbing the harmonies on 70's vinyl records. She inherited her grandmother's piano around age 6 and, after lesson practice, spent endless hours searching for all the sounds and chords she heard. Her love is simple sacred music - alone, with others, and teaching. She enjoys creative work, deep friendships, and family. She's been able to do some extensive traveling and especially cherishes the unity of Spirit in God's people around the world.
Ryan McKasson, producer
Featured guest artist, fiddle
"The bow drives across the strings, thick and throaty, creating a pulsing sound that feels more of muscle than tendon...a compositional sophistication that is cinematic, transporting, and tantalizingly modern", wrote The Boston Globe. Ryan McKasson has gained a reputation as a performer, composer, collaborator, and teacher. In 1996 he was the youngest to win the National Scottish Fiddle Championship. In 1997 he was awarded a Merit Scholarship for Viola Performance from the University of Southern California where he studied with Donald McInnes.
In 2004 Ryan and his sister, Cali, formed a band, The McKassons, that eventually included Ryan's wife, Brooke, and her brother, Matt Jerrell. The McKassons released two critically acclaimed albums, Tall Tales (2004) and Tripping Maggie (2006). Since 2002 he has also been fiddler for a renowned contra dance band, The Syncopaths. They have just released their second album, Five Gears.
Ryan has recorded with Hanneke Cassel on her albums Silver and For Reasons Unseen, and with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas on their newly released albumHighlander's Farewell.
Boston Harbor Scottish Fiddling School
Southern Hemisphere International School of Scottish Fiddle (SHISSF), New Zealand
Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School
Festival of American Fiddle Tunes
Kennedy Center - Millennium Stage, DC
Ford Amphitheater, LA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
National Gallery, DC
Club Passim, Boston
Freight and Salvage, San Fransisco
The Tractor, Seattle
McCabe's Guitar Shop, LA