This band did its first performance as BIGLovely in September of 1996.
We were doing a residency at The Fez in NYC. My girlfriend wrote me a loveletter and addressed it “To My BIGLovely.” That’s how we came up with the name.
The band is like an allstar NYC band. Everyone in the band has their own band or plays with a lot of other people. Our favorite place to play in NYC was The Fez. We’ve also played at SummerStage and had our first international dates this year in Germany.
Judith Casselberry: Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Born in Denver, CO and raised in the U.S. Army (everywhere), Judith now happily resides in the beautiful Hudson Valley. She’s been playing with her sister Toshi in various configurations since 1984 and hopes to continue until the day she “closes her Black eyes.” She performed as vocalist and guitarist with the internationally renowned duo Casselberry-DuPreé from 1979-1994, sharing the stage with Odetta, Richie Havens, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Cliff, Linda Tillery, and Ladysmith Black Mombazo among others. The last few years she’s been working on her Ph.D. from Yale University in African American Studies and Anthropology. As soon as she submits her dissertation she’ll reignite her trio, JUCA. Her other major passion is teaching college.
Robert “Chicken” Burke: Drums
Native of Brooklyn, he received his first drum kit when he was 13 years old. He has been member of Toshi Reagon’s BIGLovely band for five years. He is a self-taught musician, whose talents include writing, arranging and producing. His debut album, titled Drugs: The Prescription for Miss America, features Hall of Fame members of George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic. He is currently working on his next release, titled Chicken & the Superstars.
Fred Cash, Jr.: Bass
Native of Chicago, Fred has been touring with Toshi Reagon’s BIGLovely since 1998. Cash attended the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. He has worked with such artists as Jean-Paul Bourelly, India Arie, Jerry Butler.
Adam Widoff: Electric Guitar
Adam is a multi-instrumentalist who lives in Woodstock, NY. Starting with piano at age five, he has since haphazardly studied several instruments and musical traditions including Balinese Gamelan orchestra with Nyoman Astita and North Indian classical music with Ali Akbar Khan and Jamaluddin Bhartiya. Widoff has recorded and performed with Lenny Kravitz, Toshi Reagon, David Torn, Kate Pierson and others. Current projects include Drugs: The Prescription for Miss America and Chicken & the Superstars.
Catherine Russell: Mandolin/Vocals (original member)
Catherine Russell has worked with Toshi Reagon since Toshi’s “Rejected Stone” released in 1994. In addition, Catherine has worked with many artists including David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Cyndi Lauper, Steely Dan and Lizz Wright. She appears on numerous recordings, TV shows and commercial jingles.
She was an Associate Professor in the Voice Department at Berklee College of Music for three years. Catherine has released two CDs as a solo artist entitledCAT and SENTIMENTAL STREAK on Harmonia Mundi’s World Village label. Cat’s MySpace page.
We have supercool subs when the regulars can’t make it:
- Jen Leigh: Guitar
Jen has worked with Toshi since 2002 and toured with BIGLovely for the SHIR 30th Anniversary Tour. Jen’s MySpace page.
- Alison Miller: Drums
Allison Miller is a drummer based out of Brooklyn New York. She is currently touring with Ani Difranco and has worked with many artists, including Natalie Merchant, Erin Mckeown, Doctor Lonnie Smith and Marty Ehrlich. She also enjoys teaching and holds a teaching position at Kutztown University. She also helps out important schools that focus on bringing music into girl’s lives, such as the Institute For Musical Arts and Willie Mae Rock and Roll Camp for Girls.
- Kismet Lyles: Vocals
- Stephanie McKay: Vocals
Stephanie Mckay is a singer and songwriter a native New Yorker, born in East Harlem and raised in the Bronx. She met Toshi in 1995 at an Urban Bush Women audition has been working with Toshi and Biglovely on and off for the last 5 years. She has recorded two solo albums and collaborated on numerous recording projects as a songwriter and vocalist. Her first album enititled Mckay was released in Europe on Polydor/Universal to critical acclaim in 2003. Her latest 5 song ep was realeased on Astralwerks in September 2006. Her new album Tell It Like It Is will be released in spring 2008.
You can check out her latest music online or join her as a friend on MySpace.
- Bernice Johnson Reagon: Honorary member