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  • Ed Schmieder

Gene Casey and The Loan Sharks: Knocking Back the Notion that a Local Band Can’t Be Great!

Updated: May 21, 2021

There is no shortage of reviews, interviews, and accolades for Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks. They have been called “the house band of the Hamptons.” They have shared stages with Wanda Jackson, The Band, Bo Diddley, Sleepy LaBeef, The Ventures, and NRBQ (look them up!). They have headlined at The Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, and The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. Dan’s Paper ushered them into their “Best of the Best Hall of Fame,” and The Long Island Music Hall of Fame knighted them with the “Long Island Sound Award” for contributions “to the Island’s musical landscape.”

If you are seeing a pattern here, it is because Casey and company have really rocked our house for nearly three decades playing outstanding covers and an ever-growing body of significant original work. It is clear, Casey has a secure place among our local musical legends.

However, his music while locally grown has taken root cross country.

Casey has ridden the relatively recent wave of sync music: songs selected by music supervisors for use in television, streaming series, and films. It is a neat niche to find oneself within. Sync “soundtracks” are Shazmers’ delights. I have discovered many new artists by sitting in wait in front of my TV with the app at the ready. His songs have been heard on Justified, Sons of Anarchy, in the Jessica Biel film The Tall Man, Robert DeNiro’s The Killing Season, and director Rob Reiner’s Being Charlie.

If you are new to Casey’s sound know that he stands out from the crowd as a baritone, and a review of his 2017 album Guitar in the Rain was characterized as contemporary Americana, with 1960’s romanticism, classic C&W, and the raw spirit of rock and roll. In 2020, because of the depth of his recorded catalog, he released a compilation titled Free Country: Essential Recordings which I am told has a unique arrangement of “Home, Home on the Range.”

Surprisingly for an Island legend, Casey did not begin his career on the East End. As he put it once in another interview, he began scuffling around in the Manhattan late 80s music scene and ended up in Sag Harbor with a temporary job. There he discovered a thriving music scene with plenty of bars and other live music opportunities and decided to swing his “axe” and form a band. The rest is Long Island music history. Now he is compared to Jimmy Reeves, Patsy Cline, Duane Eddy, and from across the pond the equally great Dave Edmunds. Do not be mistaken, Casey has his own sound, comparisons notwithstanding he just keeps great musical company.

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