Name: Cassandra Gates, a.k.a Sandy from Sandy and the Bleeding Hearts
Shining Credits: Lead singer in the country cover band, Sandy and the Bleeding Hearts. Founder of the only classic country night in Philadelphia, A Night at the Opry, held every first Sunday at Ortlieb’s Lounge in Northern Liberties. Opry night features local bands (Sharon Little, The Bailey Hounds, Cask & Co., Kalob Griffin Band) performing classic country covers from acts like Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Connie Smith, and of course, Johnny Cash.
Shining Soundtrack: Blue Moon of Kentucky, Patsy Cline. Covered by Sandy and the Bleeding Hearts at December Opry.
Inspirational quote: Overcoming the fear of failure unlocks all possibilities.
First Time Shine Moment: I had always been one to pass on karaoke, while secretly wishing I had the confidence to attempt it. While I was on tour last winter with a friends band (acting as their faux-tour manager, another fun feat) we ended up at a rowdy karaoke bar in Toronto. Everyone in the band signed up and urged me to do the same. Instinctively, I refused. One-by-one my friends got up and performed, I started to think, “why not me?” I signed up for Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash, the first track from the album that I had been singing along to in my car for months. It was a combination of alcohol and knowing that I was completely anonymous in a foreign city that enabled me to step up on stage. I found my bearing by the first chorus and totally nailed the song! Despite my wobbling knees (literally) I stepped off stage and felt like I had conquered the world. I was filled with a sense of accomplishment and a new found enjoyment for performing.
What the hell is an Opry?! A Night at the Opry was inspired by the Grand Ole Opry, a country music venue and broadcast based out of Nashville, TN since 1925. The Opry served as a Mecca for small-town artists that wanted to make it big, and often times, break out of poverty. Acceptance into the Opry meant surefire success in the days before internet popularity and televised singing competitions like American Idol. National fame came to many great artists, such as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, by way of their Opry performances. My event honors this legendary broadcast by limiting bands to cover artists that were a part of the original Opry. This limitation encourages performers to look deeper into country music history and discover artists that perhaps otherwise we’d never know about. It’s about honoring the past and creating a space for classic country lovers to publicly enjoy an often overlooked genre that defined early America.
Unexpected Rippling: I didn’t realize how much work it would be to run an event. Before I knew it, I was a singing in and managing a 6-piece band, learning how to use Adobe Illustrator to design posters, promoting and flyering my posters around town, booking bands, negotiating and settling finances at the end of the show, and last but not least, working on my stage fright!!! I later realized these were ripples of growth and firmly believe that challenging yourself is part of living a healthy lifestyle.
Double Dog Dare Ya: Challenge yourself based on your fears. I was terrified to perform karaoke and overcoming that fear lead me to places I never thought possible. I dare you to pick a fear and take steps toward overcoming it. There is no better time than NOW to start dismantling the fear of failure!
Twang for Miles,
A Warrior Princess