Cashavelly Morrison is an Americana folk singer and songwriter. She is currently working on her debut album The Kingdom Belongs to a Child, which will be out in September. Her songs blend together the traditions of American roots, the ballads of Appalachia, and represent a confessional gateway into loss and her deeply held values, notably the racial prejudices in the U.S. and the dire need for equal rights and empowerment for women.
Growing up in the coal mining town of Beckley, West Virginia, she wrote poems in her journal that combined truth and fiction. She began dancing from the age of three, leaving home when she turned 15 to study ballet at the UNC School of the Arts. She danced professionally, but as she grew older, she longed to rebel from the conformities and high societal expectations of female beauty she experienced in ballet. Her desire to express her thoughts and beliefs, like the voices of countless women, felt silenced. And before moving on to a more vocal outlet, her body followed the same muted fate when she broke her spine.
It was during six months of reduced mobility in a back brace that she began writing lyrics that would be the beginnings of her music. She went on to get her undergraduate and master’s degrees in writing, and for nearly a decade, she worked on a novel set in a coal mining town in West Virginia. Her writing fused with her newly developed music skills, which allowed Cashavelly Morrison to unravel her novel into a song. Having broken down the walls that restrained her, she discovered that through music, she could express the entirety of her creative force.
While in college, she met Ryan MacLeod, who was completing his degree in Classical Guitar. He introduced her to old-time mountain music and Jean Ritchie, who would become Cashavelly’s biggest influence. They got married, and began collaborating together while overcoming insecurities—Cashavelly of her voice and lyrics, and Ryan of his guitar playing. Late at night with Ryan, Cashavelly would play the guitar or autoharp while singing the melodies and lyrics she'd come up with that day. Ryan would create music around her melodies and musical sketches. This was further fueled by a miscarriage, as well as the loss of Cashavelly’s father with whom she had reconciled after being estranged for many years.
Her songs are an exploration of shared grief and emphasize universal compassion for those who go unheard and unseen. Her husband Ryan supports her as she yearns to deepen her vulnerability and rebellious will in her songs, while on a backdrop of healing and empowerment.