The Family Ties NY ALBUM Release Party | Sunday, June 24 at 4 PM - 7 PM | Two Goats Brewing | 5027 State Route 414, Hector, New York 14818 | Cover: Free!, $10 for CDs
For The Family Ties, there is more than just creating and playing music tying together this five piece indie-rock group hailing from Williamsport, PA. The five who bring this indie/alt rock, experimental, grunge sound reminiscent of the ‘90s and early 2000s includes singer songwriter Michael Caschera lll on guitar and vocals, drummer and percussionist Gino Caschera, Mike Caschera on keyboard and saxophone, bassist Nick Laylon, and Mike Steppe on lead guitar.
Two years ago, The Family Ties broke into the Upstate New York scene performing at venues in and around the big three Finger Lakes, including The Range. The band released its debut album, Holding on to the Earth, on May 25 but will be performing a special album release show at the Two Goats Brewing, a brewpub on Seneca Lake, with “good beer, good beef, and good people” and, on June 24, some great music. Michael Caschera III and his brother Gino Caschera started playing music together as kids inspired by their father, Mike Caschera, a lifelong musician who performed with the ‘70s American pop band The Spiral Staircase, most famous for hit single “More Today than Yesterday.” The Caschera brothers played on through high school and started performing professionally in 2012.
“I had been out of school for a few years and doing a lot of solo gigs, and he [Gino] was a senior or junior in high school… but we started doing a lot of duo gigs and just had a ton of fun,” said Michael. “This started to create a decent buzz in our city. I think that's when we realized we definitely wanted to keep doing this.”
Michael and Gino played locally for a while as a duo before deciding to bring in their father who brought more dynamics, energy, and dimension to the group with his growling sax lines and atmospheric synth. With the joining of the three Cascheras, The Family Ties was born.
“What’s really great is that I know that no matter what, regardless of the money, the crowd, the venue, the travel or whatever else, I’ll always have guys to play music with. That goes for all five of us,” said Michael.
Bassist Nick Laylon joined The Family Ties in 2012 when Michael started his search for a bass player in the time after Gino moved from a cajon to a full drum kit. Nick and Michael knew of one another from occasionally crossing paths over the years, both from playing music and having been on the same bill at shows here and there. After just one rehearsal, Nick became part of the family.
Mike Steppe became a member of The Family Ties’ family in 2014 on lead guitar. Mike was the media tacher to the Caschera brothers in high school and ran a singer and songwriters club where they really got to know him.
“... around November of 2014 [Mike] was going through some rough stuff so we invited him to play a show with us just as a sit in… We really weren’t looking to add another member to the band. Well, we played one gig with Mike and ended up really liking the vibe that the electric [guitar] brought to our sound, and pretty much right after the gig, Mike joined,” said Michael.
The Family Ties put on an energetic and emotional live show. The five strive to deliver that same passion and intensity on stage that they bring to their songs when creating and rehearsing. The chemistry between the three Cascheras, Mike Steppe, and Nick Layland is strong, and each has a deep understanding on how to control the ebb and flow of their music with emotion versus volume.
“If a song has a dramatic vocal change or soft, emotional part, we all know how to effectively pull back,” Michael said. “If a part is heavy and powerful, we can up the intensity without ramping up the volume.”
At the June 24 show at Two Goats Brewing, the Upstate NY fans will get the chance to see The Family Ties performing their newly released album in its entirety – all nine tracks on this 54-minute album packed with melodic harmonies, descriptive lyrics, acoustic singer songwriter esc sections, and then heavy, pulsing band riffs.
“Our sound has evolved, and you can really hear it on this album, from a more acoustic, ‘coffee shop’ vibe to something much heavier and fuller,” Michael said.
Holding on to the Earth is so relatable as its theme is that of overcoming one’s inner struggles, insecurities, and anxieties and understanding who you are and learning from your mistakes. The inspiration for the album revolves around dealing with life and life’s pressures. Michael writes lyrics and music as a way to lessen life’s burdens; it is as therapeutic for him much as it is for those who listen. While he writes about moments – positive and negative – in his life, he crafts each song with the help of his band so that other can relate and apply the songs to their own lives.