Indiana Rain - The Story behind the Song

Indiana Rain by Sandy Kastel

It was the middle of the night when I woke to the thunder and lightening outside my bedroom window. The road was washed in the light of the full moon as the rain pounded on the pavement and into my consciousness. Mesmerized by the rhythm of the rain and the lights of a passing car washing across the black country road, the story came to life.

I sat on my bed watching for the longest time, letting the melody play in my head over and over, "Indiana Rain, won't you wash away her pain"..until finally I went into the other room and started typing out the words on my laptop.

The story played on in my mind and onto the pages as my heroin came to life, her struggle to go on after losing him. How could she let him go? She felt trapped in the past, in their life before he left and she didn't know how to move on without letting him down. She was caught between the life she had known and the one she had yet to live, the memories still too fresh to fade away into the background with "what might have been" and the reality of the loneliness as it set in. She was a woman struggling to move forward, yet afraid to let go for fear she would forget him, losing him over and over again. What could she do?

As the observer I could see from a distance that she needed to let the Indiana Rain "wash away her tears" to let her live again...

I sat at the computer for eight hours straight that night into the morning without moving. The story was complete. Then came the first demo of the song I made in my home studio with musicians in Las Vegas. The second demo was made in Nashville. Then when producer Ron Aniello selected it as one of my songs on my first original album; we came back to Nashville and Blackbird Studios to record it.

Each time the song has been recorded with a slightly different intro and feel. I imagine the arrangements will change again over time as more singers sing it and musicians play it, discovering their own emotional connection to the story; for I feel it is one of those songs that will pass from generation to generation, resonating with people who have lost someone special in their lives; finding their own struggles to move forward.

It's easy for me to imagine a choir of Angels joining in, a ray of light shining through the dark clouds, lightening flashing in the distance as I sing "Indiana Rain, won't you wash away her pain."



Lost Notes

I arrived in Las Vegas yesterday from Indianapolis on Southwest Flight 1240. On the way home in the car I realized I left my notebook on the plane in the pocket in front of my seat. I called Southwest Airlines. After three calls and twenty minutes of being on hold and an earful of music, I gave my information to a courteous woman from Southwest Airlines Central Baggage Claim.  

She took my information, then told me I should go back to the baggage claim office within the next twenty-four hours in case they found it, otherwise it would be thrown away. As soon as the driver let me off at the house I pulled my luggage into the hallway and changed my clothes. I didn’t want to spend the rest of the evening in the high heels and suit I wore on the plane.

I slipped into my white cotton summer dress with the scooped neck, mid-length sleeves and ruffles. I thought about wearing my lime green low-heeled gierlereoriu’s but opted for the multi-colored Swarovsky crystal covered ballet slippers instead, going for comfort. I transferred the contents from my Louis Vouton travel purse to my ivory Brighton shoulder bag and headed towards the garage.

Before I could take either of the cars out I had to disconnect them from the battery chargers. This is a habit my husband and I started a couple years ago when we discovered our car batteries would be dead when we returned after long trips. As it turns out the complicated computers in the later model Mercedes drain the batteries if they aren’t driven for extended lengths of time.  So now, when we go away we keep both of our cars hooked up to battery chargers.

I decided to take the AMG. It was the car my husband bought for me to drive. It’s supposed to be just like my SL 600, which is back in Indiana now, but it makes much more noise when the engine starts and has a different feel on the road. I do like the color, though. It's Mars Red.

Before I could go any further I had to stop and get something to eat. Driving towards Redrock on West Sahara Boulevard I turned left at Fort Apache to Flamingo Road then turned right and drove past the 215 Freeway to the large mall with Target and 24 Hour Fitness. I parked in front of Fudruckers, ready for a really good burger and onion rings.

It's been over two months since I walked through those doors. I’ve been watching what I eat; cutting back beef, starches and sugar; focusing mostly on chicken, fish and vegetables.  

After finishing half of my burger, a third of my onion rings and one quarter of the A&W Root Beer; I was ready to go to McCarren Airport and see if I could find my notebook. It was one of the new thin black journals I bought at Target a couple weeks ago in Indiana. I found them when I was shopping for a scale so I could track my weight loss. It came in a package of two for only $3.99, much less than I had paid for my Moleskin journals in the past.

The sad thing about losing any kind of notebook for me is that it has my notes in it. Notes from meetings, ideas for songs, beginnings of stories, drawings of designs for the new home we're building. Luckily, I only started using this one a week ago. Unfortunately, I had a lot of notes already in it. Also, there were references from phone conversations pertaining to the meetings I had in Nashville regarding my radio promotion for the single from my new album, Indiana Rain. We had three meetings; one with my radio promoter, another with a publicist and a third with a videographer.

If I don’t get my notebook back, all of those notes will be lost to me forever. Ugh! What a devastating thought. Like many situations in life; if that is what happens, then I will survive. We humans do have an uncanny ability to survive most situations in our daily lives. We might feel devastated or lost for a while, but we manage to pull ourselves together and cope with the challenges placed before us.

This is only a minor setback for me, nothing major. It is merely an annoyance; a distraction which will not dramatically affect my life. It only makes me take note, ah, yes, there are those words again. “Take note”. That is what I do. I take notes. I make notes. I reference my notes. My notes fill books that line my bookshelves and stack on my floor or dressers.

I keep my notes for years, important notes maybe even forever. I don’t think I have ever willingly thrown out a note, unless I re-notated it in another place, such as another “note” book. Then and only then do I feel comfortable throwing out the old note. Hmmm. I wonder what that means. Maybe I will make a note about it and write a book about it when I have time to go through all my notes.

p.s. They haven’t found my notebook, yet. The woman at the baggage claim office said it hadn’t been turned in, but that the plane went on to New Orleans. She gave me the number for their office and said that the plane would be swept more thoroughly at the final stop of the night. I phoned New Orleans this morning. They didn’t find it either. The Southwest Attendant told me if the plane was not swept well enough the notebook might be found at another destination. Then it would be turned into Southwest Central Baggage Claim, at which time they would contact me. Who knows, maybe someone found my notes interesting and decided to keep the book. After all, there were still so many pages left to fill with notes.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Wishing all mothers a wonderful day full of joy and pleasure, especially my own MOM, who has been such an inspiration to me all my life.

An artist, a career woman and a mother, she gives us her love in many different ways.

Her never ending devotion and support of all of her daughters has been the glue that holds us together.

No matter what challenges we are faced with, MOM is there for us. Thank you, MOM! xoxoxoxo

My mother's artwork has inspired others. These are a few of her florals she created using Prismacolor Pencils.

Sold at art galleries and festivals around the country Wanda Kastel Florals will soon be available online at

My Mother's Artwork


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.



What's Too Much?

What’s Too Much?
by Sandy Kastel

People say I do too much. What's too much? I always seem to be working on a variety of activities at the same time. I find myself going back and forth between them and the energy from one will often fuel the other.

The same people wonder how I’ve been able to accomplish so much in my lifetime. I feel one of the main reasons for this is that I allow myself the freedom to be open to explore the possibilities without limiting myself, which makes it possible for me to bring several projects to completion within a similar period of time.

Also, I love learning. Give me a class in something; anything. Well, almost anything.

I've studied body therapies like massage, reiki, shiatsu, Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais; studied psychology, human behavior and the relationship between astrology and the human psyche; studied the use of the English language and foreign languages.

I’ve explored the use of symbols in dreams, inner work and self-help books; learned about meditation, IChing, runes and tarot cards; been boating, canoeing, kayaking and sailing; gone skiing, played tennis, raquetball and golf; studied various forms of dance such as ballet, tap, modern and jazz.

I've taken classes in fine arts, drawing, painting, mixed media and sculpture; been in acting classes, musical theater, television commercial and film study groups; learned juggling, sword-fighting and archery, breathing techniques, tai-chi, chi-gong, yoga and Pilates.

I've written poetry, songs, plays, articles and books; learned word processing, graphics, recording and film editing programs; attended modeling schools, publishing seminars, design schools, jewelry making classes, learned clothing design, home decorating, interior design and designed architectural elements for homes.

I'm a daughter, a sister, a wife and a friend. I've been a singer, an actress, a dancer, a model and a beauty contestant, a salesgirl, a photographer, a receptionist and a secretary, a student, a teacher and a mentor, an artist, a sculptor and a clothing designer, a musician, a songwriter and an author, a director, a producer and a playwright.

Many of the skills I've learned have become integrated into my work. Others add only a touch of flavor to my vast canvas, the subtle textures undetectable by the inexperienced eye.

I wonder who will pick up on the complexity of who we are as individuals when all is said and done and we have turned to dust at the end of our run. Will there be anyone out there who notices the quality of details that went into the making of who we have become and what we leave behind in the world?

Will there be a movie about me; or a book written to analyze my contribution to the world? Will anyone notice when I am gone? Will it matter that I learned what I did and cared enough to put my all into my work? Will it make a difference to anyone but me? Will anyone care then - that I did too much?

Nashville Under Repair

Nashville is under repair and people are all coming together to help.

The destruction was devastating in parts of Nashville. Lower Broadway and Downton were roped off and under repair, the tops of trees were all that was visible in many of the flooded areas, buildings were destroyed, families were preparing to start over.

Many of the hotels and local residents were without hot water for days and the electricity was off for periods of time as repairs were being made and damage assessed.

People are "doing business not quite as usual".  They are keeping the music going and relief events are going on all around town to raise money for those who were hit the hardest and hotels like the Renaissance downtown offered rooms to locals who had no place to go.

It was apparent everywhere in Nashville when disaster strikes people come together.

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.




What if someone picks a fight with you?

At times it is challenging when we are faced with negative emotions aimed at us. We can only rely on ourselves to choose how we let them effect us. If you want to grow from these experiences, work towards understanding the dynamics at play by looking within to find the 'button' being pushed. Then you can learn to process it for yourself.

Sometimes people will lash out at others because of their own insecurities or issues. It is important to realize this so you can become the observer in the situation; be aware of your own actions as well and be clear what part you play in the confrontation. The more you recognize your own feelings the better you will be able to assess the way you can best handle yourself for the most productive outcome.

Learn from these experiences and remember, we cannot control others. We can only control our own actions. We can choose how to deal with life and help ourselves grow and take responsibility for our actions.

If you want to get someone's attention, don't react to their antics. They will eventually lose interest in fighting with you if they can't "get your goat."  Set an example.


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.

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.