A husband-wife team hailing from Texas, Casket Sharp promise that Savannah hasn’t heard anything like their fusion of traditional American fare and modern indie influences.
“I would describe it as kind of a modern-age swing on a Stevie Ray Vaughn meets Stevie Wonder,” guitarist and vocalist William Cusack says. “Southern rock, Texas blues—it’s the same climax, musically, but with, of course, a lot of new influences. We’re both 22, so we have modern influences outside of the old-school stuff.”
While they met in Savannah, Cusack and wife Anna are both from Texas (Austin and Dallas, respectively.
“Growing up in that culture, Texas blues are a lot more fierce than Southern blues,” says William.
William, a guitar instructor at Portman’s Music, handles acoustic guitar and vocal duties, while Anna brings saxophone into the mix and drummer Jalen Reyes holds down the beat.
“My main instrument for several years was oboe in high school and middle school,” Anna recalls. “I played alto sax for marching band, so when we got married about seven months ago, I was like, ‘Hey, let me be a part of your musical journey.’”
William suggested Anna try tenor sax to accompany the collection of songs he had already written.
“We chose tenor because we didn’t really have a bass player,” explains Anna. “It was something deeper that added more depth to the sound. And it’s a really fun instrument!”
Though they haven’t recorded any of their material yet, William is confident that Casket Sharp brings a unique sound into Savannah’s mix.
“It’s not really anything that I’ve seen before,” he says. “I’ve seen what songwriting has to offer in this city as opposed to Austin; it’s very stale, comparatively. I respect a lot of songwriters, but it’s definitely something that has never been here in Savannah.”
Playing original music is a priority for Casket Sharp.
“Savannah, you have rock and roll—it’s the South—you have gospel, you have hardcore, and the metal scene is pretty popular,” William says. “Then you have the gigging scene, which reigns supreme in my opinion, which doesn’t collect a lot of talented songwriters, just good enough performers. To me, that’s a shame. People have to try to step out rather than cop a dime.”
William strives for a kind of authenticity he’s witnessed in Nashville.
“Everyone there wants to stay true to their artistry,” he says. “They’re not willing to sell out to that. You see it here a lot in the painting culture but not a lot in the music culture.”
The Cusacks look forward to making a record, tentatively due at the end of summer, so that their lyrical content can be highlighted.
“It’s more so going back to that roots kind of thing that was, ‘come out, have a good time, dance to very dynamic music,’” says William. “That’s kind of what it offers. Lyrically, it is this carefree kind of thing; musically, it is very dynamic.”