Geffery's profile

My name is Geffery Cassuto. I was born in 1985 in Baltimore, MD. I was raised in Pasadena, MD where I attended public school. I am a self taught musician specializing in string instruments, mainly guitar, banjo, violin/fiddle, and mandolin. I have been performing solo and with bands in the Baltimore area and nationwide since 2004. My music is meditative in nature and varies between singer/songwriter style folk music and old time Americana, to composed suites for steel string guitars, electric and acoustic. I have been the most inspired and incentivised by the American Primitive school of solo guitar started in part by John Fahey. With the influence of my parents, I came obsessed with music of all kinds at a very young age. In my elementary school years, I discovered I had a keen ear and began singing along with music I heard at home and in church. At age 10, I began teaching myself guitar, with tuning and some chording assistance from my father. I was soon able to tune by ear. I worked hard at my 3 first chords, and played incessantly. More musical influence from my father began to influence my direction, and obsession such as Experimental, Jazz, Punk Rock, Reggae, Folk, Bluegrass, Hip Hop and more, but it was the Blues that grabbed my attention. My life was altered after hearing the Blues/Gospel of Blind Willie Johnson. Country blues and pre-war American music became a full time passion around age 15. The other pivotal musical experience was hearing John Coltrane in the sixth grade. This opened my ears and mind to the possibilities of improvisation. At this time I was attempting to translate some of these concepts that I was hearing in country blues, punk, and jazz onto electric guitar.  I was trying to comprehend alternate tunings, using a slide, and eventually alternating bass fingerpicking from various American Folk Music for guitar. At 16 I heard the music of Maryland native John Fahey and my path would be altered forever. His use of folk and blues idioms, world music and modern classical influences in his own compositions as well as his pitch perfect use of fingerpicks on acoustic guitar was spellbinding to me. I decided that I had to capture this sound and use it as a tool for myself. I began to study his work and methods by ear and began to copy them closely. Fahey's emotional openness without the use of vocals, just a solo acoustic guitar, was mystifying and enlightening to me. It made me question everything musical, psychological and existential about my own life. It made me dig deep into the guitar and myself. I continued to play other instruments, now with some of Fahey's concepts that I had gleaned such as alternate tunings, modality, drone, minor keys, use of silence, slides and bending of notes to create open space, evoke mystery and paint mental pictures instrumentally. I later read some of his writing wherein he dismisses formality in music and instead promotes the plumbing of ones consciousness as the crux of creativity and how that should preclude any truly affecting piece of music or art. This very much appealed to me and my developing sense of non conformity. 

I moved to Baltimore City from Anne Arundel county in 2007 and began playing in a mostly electric rock band that played a few severely shambolic shows over a few years. I also played solo around town, doing my original folkesque acoustic material for voice and guitar.  In 2008, I joined a string band named the Baltimore String Felons. We were initially inspired by Appalachian folk music, but composed several original songs over 6 years. I played fiddle and mandolin mostly as well backing vocals and occasional guitar. We had a decent impact on the music scene in Baltimore, inspiring many of our friends to pick up acoustic instruments and play what they felt. We played countless house shows and did several tours around the U.S. We made two full length albums and got some decent press for them both.  We unofficially disbanded in 2015 and began pursuing other projects, solo and otherwise. I have since self released two official solo albums of original material. My latest work entitled Before The Apocalypse was put on hold when my best friend and music partner passed away in July 2017. We had recorded the bulk of a full length album of original instrumental guitar duets which was a culmination of our collective influences up until that point. We had done a few performances that went over well and decided to try and make the best recording possible of our music. Since his passing, the final stages of the recording process have been slow going. I will continue to finish this process and release this recording. Our music has been the creative endeavor that I am most proud of in my life as it embodies years of collaboration and a summation of cumulative musical and spiritual influences: the initial folk and Americana guitar styles, John Fahey, middle eastern and other world musics, as well as the drone of experimental sounds and doom metal. With my friend gone, I have found it hard to continue but I must go on. It seems like music and performing are the most powerful healing forces for grief and tragedy. My goal is to hopefully provide some sense of relief for others experiencing hurt and loss and to connect people with themselves in order to break down barriers between each other.I moved to Baltimore City from Anne Arundel county in 2007 and began playing in a mostly electric rock band that played a few severely shambolic shows over a few years. I also played solo around town, doing my original folk-esque acoustic material for voice and guitar.  In 2008, I joined a string band named the Baltimore String Felons. I played fiddle and mandolin mostly as well backing vocals and occasional guitar. We ending up having a decent impact on the Punk scene in Baltimore, inspiring many of our friends to pick up acoustic instruments and play what they felt. We played countless house shows and did several tours around the U.S. We made two full length albums and got some decent press for them both.  We unofficially disbanded in 2015 and began pursuing other projects, solo and otherwise. I have since self released two official solo albums of original material. My latest work entitled Before The Apocalypse was put on hold when my best friend and music partner passed away in July 2017. We had recorded the bulk of a full length album of original instrumental guitar duets which was a culmination of our collective influences up until that point. We had done a few performances that went over well and decided to try and make the best recording possible of our music. Since his passing, the final stages of the recording process have been slow going. I will continue to finish this process and release this recording. Our music has been the creative endeavor that I am most proud of in my life as it embodies years of collaboration and a summation of cumulative musical and spiritual influences: the initial folk and Americana guitar styles, John Fahey, middle eastern and other world musics, as well as the drone of experimental sounds and doom metal. With my friend gone, I have found it hard to continue but I must go on. It seems like music and performing are the most powerful healing forces for grief and tragedy. My goal is to hopefully provide some sense of relief for others experiencing hurt and loss and to connect people with themselves in order to break down barriers between each other.

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Geffery's Curated Collection

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