Kasey Moore: Listening, Learning, and Playing
by Shelby Berry
With her grandfather’s influence on her life and her music, Tennessee native Kasey Moore hasn’t stopped playing bluegrass. “My grandfather gave me my first mandolin and really encouraged me in bluegrass music,” said Kasey. “He and my hometown were both big influences on me in my music with bluegrass jams.”
Kasey’s family had moved to Knoxville, Tenn. when four-year-old Kasey started learning to play an instrument while they traveled. “We couldn’t drive a piano back and forth to Ohio, and a fiddle would fit in the trunk!” said Kasey’s mom, Jennifer Moore.
Classically trained on the violin, Kasey performed her first shows at violin recitals. At age ten, Kasey played mandolin in a bluegrass jam and transitioned to bluegrass music.
“The bluegrass community in my hometown is really welcoming,” said Kasey.
As a home-schooled student, Kasey, now age 16, has the flexibility every day to explore her music and other instruments like guitar, banjo, and upright bass. She incorporates learning, growing, and getting better in every aspect of who she is.
“During the week, I wake up early, grab an instrument and just start playing. I have school lessons throughout the day off and on, but I play music throughout the day as well. Occasionally, I get to do performances on the weekend, too!” said Kasey.
She finds inspiration in multi-instrumentalist, award-winning songwriter Molly Tuttle and indie-folk duo The Milk Carton Kids.
She explained how Molly is diverse and explores different genres and the idea of taking a bluegrass instrument and mixing it with a pop song.
“The Milk Carton Kids guitar player Kenneth Pattengale plays a lot like Dave Rawlings, and it fascinates me. I find The Milk Carton Kids to be very different,” Kasey said.
Kasey brings classically trained techniques to her bluegrass music. Her teachers encouraged her to discover where she wanted to go with her music.
“I grew up with classical music and got into bluegrass, jazz, blues, and folk music, so my style has changed as I am inspired by other genres,” said Kasey. “My sound will change forever. I love having a folky sound and relying on bluegrass influences with my music. I hope to continue to explore new sounds and put together what makes sense for me.”
Kasey is a member of the East Tennessee Bluegrass Association and Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars.
“My bluegrass community in my area doesn’t have a lot of young people. With Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars, I am able to connect with a lot of young people and jam with them,” said Kasey.
Kasey remembered her last SPBGMA when Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars president Larry Smith was setting up for TBS kids. He encouraged them to be more outgoing, and he organized jam sessions.
“Before SPBGMA, Larry had seen some of my Facebook videos and my music. The support from him and the other TBS leaders has allowed me to have such a strong connection with them,” said Kasey.
“If I had advice for any new musician joining us in TBS, I would tell them just to play as much as you possibly can. Jam with people. Put yourself out there. I was always shy and struggled to put myself in those opportunities. Jam, learn, play, and listen to all kinds of different people. Be inspired by them. Listen, and learn.”
Kasey knows it’s more difficult to be successful in the music industry as a woman, but she is determined to make music her career.
“Music has always been there, and it’s always been interesting. There are so many things to explore,” said Kasey. “I really love just how many different genres and concepts there are, and I love the aspect of performing. You can learn so much, and you never get to a point where you feel like you have learned it all. You play one genre for a while, and then you can explore others. You can take new ideas and concepts from other genres and apply that to bluegrass.”