Music Cares Nashville Relief Fund Efforts

Learn more about what the Recording Academy Efforts

MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief Fund Efforts
Nashville event to raise funds for flood relief
May 6, 2010 - 4:11pm
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Photo: Barry Brecheisen/
Darius Rucker
The Recording Academy Nashville Chapter's 12th Annual GRAMMY Block Party and Membership Celebration will take place on May 11 at Owen Bradley Park in Nashville, Tenn., providing Academy members with an opportunity to come together and celebrate music through a variety of live performances.

In light of the recent floods that have severely affected the Nashville area, this year's event will serve as a fundraiser for the newly established MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief Fund, helping local musicians in need. Artists scheduled to perform at the event are bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent, contemporary Christian artist Plumb, GRAMMY-winning country artist Darius Rucker, country music duo Steel Magnolia, and funk band Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow and Recording Academy Chair George J. Flanigen IV also will be in attendance.

MusiCares' emergency assistance efforts have already begun, and 100 percent of every dollar raised will be immediately distributed to help those in the music community that are victims of the flood. Donations to MusiCares Nashville Flood Relief may be made at the MusiCares table at the GRAMMY Block Party or online here.

MusiCares' initial assistance will provide funds for food and clothing, gasoline and transportation, clean-up efforts, relocation costs, medicine, and other critical supplies. To apply for assistance, please contact MusiCares' South Regional office at 615.327.0050 or toll-free at 877.626.2748.

Embrace Life - Wear Your Seat Belt

"Sometimes you take a detour. It doesn't matter where or when. You don't know where you might end up when you're coming from where you've been.

Sometimes you take a detour on the way to where you go, wondering which way you're gonna turn when you get to the end of the road. Life takes a detour."

These are lyrics from my song 'Detour' on my new album Indiana Rain.

As one of the authors in the inspirational book, Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths, I tell the story of a young mother's promise and a daughter's devotion.

We all have our ups and downs in life.  How we choose to deal with them determines the outcome.

When Life Takes a Detour: Discovering the Road to Your Destination is my way of sharing my own experiences and the lessons learned on my journey.

My stories are revealed through my songs, my artwork, my books and my performances.

Here is a powerful example of what can happen when life takes a detour and a simple solution we can all apply to our daily lives.



Birth of the Blues Johnny Carson Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack in Las Vegas

I remember watching the Rat Pack when I was just a little (real little) girl and my dad, Dick Kastel, was playing sax in the orchestra.

Here Johnny Carson is singing with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. and he wasn't taking any 'crap' from them either!  He fit right in.

Las Vegas was a different town back then. Getting guys on one stage together!

It was an amazing time to be growing up in Las Vegas!




Sandy Kastel remembers Danny Gans

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Danny Gans left us. The first time I saw his show was at the Rio Hotel and Casino. Since that first night I saw him perform several times through the years; bringing friends and family.

Many of us watched as Danny Gans built an amazing career for himself in Las Vegas. When Steve Wynn built a large theater in the Mirage, his audiences just kept growing.

People from around the world discovered a treasure when they watched Danny Gans on stage, transforming himself in a matter of seconds from one performer to another with just a change of a hat, a wig or a scarf, a cigarette or a glove, a song or a smile.

It was a shock when I heard the news on the radio that morning. I couldn’t believe it. No one could.

When I think of Danny Gans it brings a smile to my face. He made us laugh, he made us cry. As he took us on a journey down memory lane, he gave us laughter and food for thought.

He was also an example for those who ever had a dream crushed for one reason or another.

When life threw him a curve ball and his baseball career ended suddenly, Danny Gans embraced his ability to make people laugh by impersonating the entertainers he grew up watching on TV.

In his show, for a brief moment, his audiences were transported to another place and time as Danny Gans paid tribute to others in the Entertainment Capital of the World.

Danny Ganz was an incredible showman. I saw him often at charity events and parties, where he was always gracious and accessible to his fans. Danny Gans was a true entertainer.

Sandy Kastel, Author Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths ‘Detours’

Danny Gans
October 25, 1956 – May 1, 2009

dannygans1A long time headliner in Las Vegas, Danny Gans was known as “The Man of Many Voices.”   Before he went into entertainment, Gans played baseball for the Durham Bulls, but an injury derailed his sports career so he set his sights on Broadway where he perfected his one man show.  In 1996, he moved to Las Vegas, starting at the Stratosphere.  He eventually moved his show to the Rio, the Mirage, the Encore, and most recently, the Encore.  The sign advertising his show is reportedly the largest free-standing marquee in the world.  In 1992, Gans portrayed Dean Martin in the CBS miniseries, Sinatra.  Danny Gans died unexpectedly at the age of 52.  Reports indicate that Gans died of an accidental reaction to prescribed medications he was taking.




Las Vegas Writers Conference

The Las Vegas Writer's Conference was here this weekend and I enjoyed meeting and learning from each and every one of our authors, agents and publishers including:

New York Times Best-Seller Bob Mayer, Author of over 40 books including Warrior Writer: From Writer to Published Author & Chasing the Ghost

Dennis Griffin, Author of 10 books including Cullotta: the biography of former Chicago and Las Vegas mobster Frank Cullotta

Judi Moreo Motivational Speaker & Author of 9 books including You are More Than Enough: Every Woman's Guide to Purpose, Passion, and Power

Maxwell Alexander Drake, Author Farmers & Mercenaries

Megan Edwards, Author Roads from the Ashes: An Odyssey in Real Life on the Virtual Frontier

Dan Decker, Author Anatomy of a Screenplay

Geoff Schumacher, Author Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia & Palace Intrique

Maralys Wills, Author of 12 books including Manbirds: Hang Gliders & Hang Gliding

Margaret Dalrymple, Author & Publisher

Leslie Hoffman, Writer & Editor

Brandi Bowles, Literary Agent (Foundry Literary & Media)

Ginger Clark, Literary Agent (Curtis Brown, LTD)

Jami Carpenter, ghostwriter and editor (Stephens Press & American Book Publishers)

Lynn Pisar, Director of Operations (Books in Motion).

Thank you to all of the authors, agents and publishers and especially to Jo A. Wilkins, President of the Henderson Writer's Group and all the members who made it possible.

To Learn More:




"Writing is the author's vehicle into your world..."

Sandy Kastel, Author Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths 'Detours'

Writing for Life Choices Book

Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths
The Strength of Women-Book

We all have challenges in our lives. Sometimes we don’t see them coming. Sometimes we invite them in. Some are bigger than others. Sometimes they come one right behind the other. Sometimes they show up all at once. Sometimes we have to make a choice in how we deal with these challenges.

This empowering collection of stories reminds us that we all have choices, and the choices we make are what determine the course of our lives. The authors of these stories are real people who have reached into the depths of their souls to share their inspiring journeys when navigating the difficult paths of their lives. These extraordinary people have persevered against the odds and made choices that enabled them to achieve successful lives. Through their experiences, we can find many important lessons to help us avoid wrong turns and blind alleys. Their stories show us that we can overcome our challenges and live more satisfying, passion filled lives.

"We live. We love. We explore. Our hearts are broken only to be mended again. We are devastated by life's tragedies and yet we survive."

Sandy Kastel, Author Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths 'Detours'

Messages of Hope from 26 Inspirational Authors

If you feel “stuck” in a situation that appears to be beyond your control, these stories will show you how others have coped with crisis and uncertainty, made tough choices and positive changes in order to find deeper meaning and satisfaction in their relationships and learned to live with purpose every day. Rarely do we find a book that addresses so many different challenges. Life Choices does this in a powerful and inspiring way. This book is about experiences, the people who lived them, and how they created successful lives. From values and self-fulfillment to legacy, this book offers new resources for people who have tough choices to make every day.

Filled with wisdom and love, this book is a soothing companion for anyone searching for the courage to make a choice to change his or her circumstances. These authors and their stories prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that success belongs to everyone, no matter where they come from or what has happened to them. They are living proof that miracles can and do happen. You can be one of these people. You can navigate through difficult times and find your pathway to the life you choose to lead. Put the strength of others to work for you. Courage is not the absence of fear or pain. Courage is taking the steps to move through it.

My Mom and Tammy Wynette

When I was a little girl my mom played Tammy Wynette records on our phonograph player and we sang along. Stand by Your Man and D-I-V-O-R-C-E were the two songs I remember the most. I would belt out the lyrics when I sang, just like Tammy.

She was a huge influence on me growing up, the way she sang she represented a strong woman, who set an example for women everywhere, both by 'standing by her man' to 'standing up for herself' when the times got rough.


I'll always remember her in my heart and in my songs that reflect a woman's feelings of frustration, defiance and determination, a few of which will be on my new album "Indiana Rain", due out this May.


Sandy Kastel, Author and Recording Artist

Life Choices: Navigating Difficult Paths 'Detours'


Tammy Wynette
May 5, 1942 – April 6, 1998

Tammy Wynette was rightfully known as the “First Lady of Country Music” due in part to her domination of the country music charts during the late ’60s and early ’70s. With hits like “Stand By Your Man,” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” she personified female country singers of the era. Her songs reached the top of the country music charts 17 times and earned her two Grammys. In 1969, Wynette married George Jones, with whom she had several more hits as his duet partner. A couple little know facts about Wynette were that she was a stand-out basketball player in high school, and that she renewed her cosmetology license every year so she’d have something to fall back on. She was also the voice of Hank Hill’s mother on King Of The Hill. As is generally the case with country stars of the ’60s and ’70s, Wynette’s popularity waned in the ’80s, but she found a new popularity in 1991 when she teamed up with British electronic band the KLF on “Justified And Ancient (Stand By The JAMs)”,  a number one hit throughout much of the world. A couple years later, she joined forces with Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn for the great Honky Tonk Angels album. Wynette suffered from numerous health problems throughout her life resulting in over two dozen major surgeries. Her body finally gave in on April 6, 1998, when she died in her sleep from a pulmonary blood clot.