Casper College Sound Design Program: Crafting Artistic Soundscapes with Third Rail of Cheyenne and Saratoga

By: Christopher Lorenzen
Photo of band Third Rail for Third Rail press release.

Third Rail performing at the Gaslight Social in Casper, Wyoming. Members of the band, first row, l-r; Bill Snow, lead guitar and lap steel; Casey Jones, lead singer and acoustic guitar; Logan Feezer, fiddle and guitar. Back row, l-r: Devin Smith, drums and harmony vocals and Connor Koch, bass guitar. (Casper College photo)

In an exciting collaboration, the Sound Design Program at Casper College recently embarked on a unique learning experience by recording two singles for the country music band Third Rail out of Cheyenne and Saratoga. This hands-on project not only provided students with a practical application of their sound design skills but also allowed Third Rail the benefit of a state-of-the-art recording studio and the fresh talent of students.


Third Rail: A dream in the making.

“Third Rail is a band I put together over five years ago after committing to playing a street dance for Lingle, Wyoming’s 100-year anniversary in 2018. The gig came before the band,” says lead singer Casey Jones, lead singer/acoustic guitar/mandolin, who’d been playing live with fiddle and guitar player Logan Feezer and his cousin Alan Jones.

Casey Jones and The Trainwreck played the Lingle gig, a name that later changed to Third Rail with the addition of three new band members later in 2018. Third Rail is in reference to the additional rail added to a railway locomotive or train supplying electrical current according to the band’s website. Their music certainly is energizing.

Photo of man playing a guitar

Casey Jones, founder of Third Rail, is shown playing and singing one of the songs he has written for the band during a recent recording session at Casper College. (Casper College photo)

Jones says he believes it’s a blend of influences and strengths that ultimately led to Third Rail’s sound, including newer country sounds and songwriting like the Turnpike Troubadours and Wade Bowen, older traditional country like Merle Haggard and Vince Gill, and a touch of rock-n-roll that most of them grew up playing.

He also happens to be a talented songwriter with work he’d written in notebooks dating back to his high school years. Many of Third Rail’s originals have been written since the band formed to fit its unique sound and the individual talents of its musicians.

The band travels regionally, performing in a number of different live venues. In 2021, they released their first album, “Centerline,” available on Spotify, Amazon Music, and Apple Music. The album includes songs written by Jones about his life experiences and journeys.

In addition to Jones, now living in Saratoga, and Feezer, Third Rail’s musicians include Bill Snow, lead guitar/lap steel, Devin Smith, drums/harmony vocals, and Connor Koch, bass guitar. “We really enjoy the music and the opportunity to perform together. Each of the musicians in the band brings a ton of talent and experience,” says Feezer. It’s a blast watching these guys put together their music for a song.”


A Call Out to Musicians:

Each year, Casper College sound design instructor Larry Burger puts a call out to area musicians to come record at the college. Burger was fortunate to already have a connection with Third Rail, which is scheduled to perform in Casper at The Gaslight Social.

“My goal for students in the program is to take them through the recording process, from A-Z, where they learn everything from setup to expertly running the software and recognizing potential issues in the recording,” says Burger. “Involving professional musicians in their learning process is a great way to give them hands-on experience.”

“It was exciting for us to be able to get the band together and to work on new music,” says Jones. “Knowing that we’re helping students to learn was a big bonus.”


Much Like Music, Recording is Its Own Art Form

Recording music is much different from performing it live, says Burger. His experience was on full display during the recording session as he guided students through the process and worked with the musicians to fine-tune their sound.

The band played together, and then musicians individually perfected their parts in separate recordings. The students brought it all together into a final recording that will be mastered over the coming several weeks.

“It was surprising for me to see how much effort the students put into our recording session. They were on-point the whole time and actually ran the majority of the recording session themselves,” says Jones.

The two singles, titled “I’ll Get All This” and “It’ll Work Out … or not?” presented diverse musical challenges that engaged the students in various aspects of production. The band plans on releasing the singles later this year as they kick off their summer performances.

Photo of Casper College students setting up equipment in a recording studio.

Students of the Sound Design Program at Casper College work on setting up the equipment needed to record a session with Wyoming band Third Rail recently. L-r: Bridger Jones, Alyssa Bullock, Laura Kearns, and Gregory Kearns. (Casper College photo)


Hands-On Learning for Students:

For the students enrolled in the Casper College Sound Design Program, this collaboration was a transformative learning experience. The opportunity to work with a professional band like Third Rail allowed them to apply their skills in a real-world context, emphasizing the importance of adaptability and problem-solving in a live recording environment.

The hands-on nature of the project gave students a chance to work with state-of-the-art equipment, refine their critical listening skills, and collaborate with a musical ensemble. The experience not only enhanced their technical proficiency but also instilled a deep appreciation for the collaborative nature of their work.

After recording, the students went to The Gaslight Social to enjoy the band at their live performance.

Photo of people looking at a large TV screen while participating in a recording session at Casper College.

Students enrolled in the Sound Design Program at Casper College go over recording levels with instructor Larry Burger, center. Students in the program work hands-on with state-of-the-art recording equipment with actual bands from Wyoming. Students pictured, l-r: Alyssa Bullock; sitting in chair behind elbow, Laura Kearns; Gregory Kearns; and Bridger Jones. (Casper College photo)


Photo of two musicians practicing in a recording studio at Casper College.

Fiddle player and guitarist Logan Feezer, foreground, rehearses with bass guitar player Connor Koch, prior to a recording session at Casper College. The two are part of the band Third Rail and were at the college to take advantage of the professional studio and recording opportunities available to the band through the Sound Design Program at Casper College. (Casper College photo)

Impact on Third Rail:

Third Rail, known for their music and ability to put country dancers on the floor, found the collaboration with the Casper College Sound Design Program to be a refreshing and enriching experience. The students’ creative input and technical expertise made it possible for the band to record their new music and share two more of Jones’ stories and life experiences.

“It was so fun doing this and being able to sit back and experience the talent of the musicians in Third Rail. It gave me a greater appreciation of what we have to offer through our music,” says Jones. “Maybe I’ll write a song about it.”



We All Travel Together:

The collaboration between Third Rail and the Casper College class not only produced two exciting singles but also exemplified the power of partnerships between seasoned professionals and emerging talents. This unique venture showcased the potential for creativity, learning, and community building within the realm of music. As both Third Rail and the students continue their respective journeys, the echoes of this collaboration are sure to resonate in the music produced by the band and the careers of the budding musicians involved.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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