THE STURDY SOULS – A Local Favorite and This Year’s Producer’s Choice!
by Sue Giustino
I’ve always believed that for one to be considered a Sturdy Soul, one must have the ability to withstand and persevere for what is right and just, and for achievement of goals. According to a dictionary it’s defined as being: marked by resoluteness or determination.
After speaking with and getting to know Kate Usher and Kevin Angiulo from the group The Sturdy Souls, I’d say that their name fits. Although I suppose anyone who is truly determined to make their mark in the music industry may also qualify as a sturdy soul. What makes the name so perfect for these two, is not just their desire to ‘make it’ but the quest to spend their lives doing what really makes them happy. My favorite quote from our time together is, “It’s important to do what we love and share that idea with others. To try to inspire others to do that too.” Having recently committed to music full-time, it seems unimaginable to this young pair to spend their time earning a living doing anything other than making music.
As children, both musicians grew up out here in family homes enjoying the beaches and community. Although their families lived up island in the off season, Montauk will always be home. Prior to meeting and forming the group Kate was in college where she was the lead singer with a 34 piece Jazz Band in the Bronx, while Kevin completed his business degree and performed solo gigs.
They love living in Montauk and are thankful for and welcome the summer work, yet they also admit that a 6 day a week performance schedule to make ends meet can be difficult. Although, that is where their commitment holds strong; they’re not worried about doing music full time, as they know they can go anywhere and pick up a gig. Always willing to work hard, that’s exactly what they do in the off season- migrate to warmer climates and continue performing, being happy, and making others happy while listening to their unique sound. Kate’s voice has a ‘jazzy, Nora Jones’ quality that makes an audience stop and listen; her jazz background is apparent. Together offering the audience an array of quality music to enjoy. At one point, Kate commented “I feel like I’m never really working, I’m just having fun.” Kevin on the other hand is also the business side of the group so I’m pretty sure he gets that ‘I’m working’ feeling once in a while.
This summer, Montauk’s own popular group The Sturdy Souls will be starting their 3rd season performing in venues all around Montauk and beyond. After last summer, filled with show after show, they feel that they’ve really evolved. In addition, recently they’ve been building the band, one new member is Jasper Conway of the Montauk Project. They love working with him and appreciate his support and great ideas. I’m sure we have excellent shows to look forward to this season.
What’s New for the band? On April 14th, their single Tiny Boat- a love song about being in Montauk was released. April 30th was the debut of their music video for the track Half-Way. The video is produced by longtime friend John Balcuns.
The Sturdy Souls are returning to the Montauk Music Festival for their 2nd appearance, following a hugely successful festival debut in 2017. This year we are honored to be hosting the debut of their EP Circles at a CD Release Party on Friday May 18th at 11pm at Shagwongs.
They will be performing at Alive After 5 and Alive on 25 in Patchogue and Riverhead. Also, beginning Memorial Day they will resume their Monday residency at Surf Lodge during happy hour- Kevin is curating a whole series for them and it will include a variety of other ‘special guest’ bands.
Being a sturdy soul may not always be simple, yet these two are making it seem as if it were. I found a piece that I thought fit nicely with this story- sort of a life lesson for us all.
“Life is always sending us challenges, twists and turns. This is necessary because it is how we truly grow and evolve into our fullest potential. In fact, often the souls that have been through the hardest challenges experience the most growth.
Growth allows us to become stronger and also allows us to become more aware of our abilities, wisdom and intuition. This in turn, helps us to create mentally strong habits that allow us to view life with more positivity, grace and thoughtfulness.
On some level, we are all strong souls that have a purpose and a mission- [The HUFFPOST- Tanaaz Chubb, Contributor -Author of The Power of Positive Energy. Creator of ForeverConscious.com]
Be sure to catch their shows at the festival and throughout the season as these two Sturdy Souls live out and continue to strive for their dreams. Check out the websites for additional shows and information: