Missing You Dearly


(you don't want to miss out on this music)

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BIO: Aaron Russell (Cellist, BGV, Banjo) and Rique Castillo (Lead Vocals, Guitarist, Song Writer) are both steps away from 30 years of age (yikes!).  Rique’s day job is filled with the wonderful folks in the Internal Audit and Compliance office at a hospital in Columbia, SC, and Aaron is a rising IT star in the Columbia area as well as the proud new father of a beautiful little girl.  Both musicians also fight the crimes and woes of anything ailing their respective brides, Sarah and Danielle.  In his spare time, Rique dreams of getting back into skateboarding - and his lovely lady thinks he should ...  which is all the encouragement he needs.

Song Samples from Amazon (.m3u file, opens with windows media player):

Tell us a little about your background in music ...
And how Missing You Dearly got started …

I began playing the violin as early as 5th grade, and took up singing and guitar in 7th, following in my older brother’s footsteps as he also pursued guitar and song-writing.  In high school, we started a band called Locus Burning.  It was the year 2000, and we played in our bedroom a lot and had our first gig at a lock-in at a local church. 

I continued to write and rewrite songs during my freshman year of college and got involved in the small music scene in Rock Hill, South Carolina.  I started to become a household name for a local coffee house, called “The Lost and Found,” where Aaron Russell (cellist) first introduced himself to me.  Aaron and I shared the same circle of friends, but neither of us knew about the others musical interests.  During a performance one night, Aaron came to me and said "I really like your sound, but I feel like it's missing something." He went on to volunteer his master cello skills to my then one-man-band.

That same evening, the coffee house offered me a gig to play for a full hour on their busiest night the following week.  I shared the info with Aaron and we got started immediately.  It was instant chemistry as he placed his cello artistry so intimately into each song, as if the songs were originally written with the cello in mind.  We continued to play coffee houses, living rooms, bars, churches, weddings, anywhere we could.  We even took a gig a few years ago playing instrumental music inside of a Banana Republic venue.  

Throughout college, we were joined by a bluesy acoustic guitarist named Ethan and an occasional female background vocalist named Cori.  Both were close friends, and both added a great deal to the music.  Jared, my close friend and roommate, later joined the band as the percussionist.  He played a kit designed by his father with the djembe rigged as the bass drum, and also added the hammered dulcimer to the band.

To date, the band has (gratefully) been picked up by a booking agent and has performed in various venues in the Charlotte, SC area.  We have had the opportunity to play two grand openings for coffee houses (one in Greenville and another in Spartanburg), and hope to see more in the future.

How did you choose the band name?

Honestly, we sat around for a few hours trying to come up with something genius, but alas, our band name is entirely due to the power of a friend’s blog.  One of the post titles was “Missing You Dearly,” and I said, (nasally sounding) “Hey, that sounds cool and artsy!  Let’s use that.”  And the name stuck. 

What inspires your song-writing?

I have always found the writing process rather cathartic, like marrying life experiences to the music playing inside my head.  Because I'm such a sociable, happy-go-lucky kind of guy, my music tends to have a more relaxed, slow, minor sound to it (although I'm trying to branch out and write more upbeat songs as of late). 

Our hope is to be true to music being art and not just something that is catchy and main stream.  I feel we've done our best to mix the various styles that we enjoy and try to stretch ourselves in styles that are a lot more challenging. For example, there was a time when I listened to nothing but rap and Latin guitar licks in order to better understand rhythm and beats and phrasing. 

My inspiration comes from rainy days, because to me rainy days are a lot like God.  When you encounter them (rainy days and God) your plans change, you end up looking different, and no matter how quickly you run through them you still get wet (there's no way you go unaffected by their presence).   I hope to use my music as an avenue to speak the truth that has changed my life, which is the good news of Jesus Christ.

I also really love my wife, so she's made it into many of my #1 hits.

Any upcoming gigs we should know about?

As of right now we have no gigs lined up.  MYD is on hiatus as Aaron and Danielle transition into their new roles as parents.  We hope to hit the studio soon, though, so please connect with us on FB/MySpace/iTunes to keep up with all things MYD.


Lessons in Speech:  I grew up with an alcoholic father (thankfully his life has now been transformed through faith in Christ) who was not only physically abusive, but verbally and emotionally abusive. As a male in my late twenties, I've learned the repercussions of that verbal and emotional abuse (insecurity, low self-esteem, feeling unaccomplished).  As a person of faith who has experienced this type of abuse and come out on the other side, I’ve learned that words are very powerful.  They carry weight that can either bury someone or be used as a platform to lift them up and help them to solid ground.   We all have baggage we carry and express in individual ways, so my hope with this song is to encourage others to recognize the weight of their words, and the redeeming quality of “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong.”  Words like that can break the back of guilt and shame.

Cup Of Coffee:  Sitting at a local coffee shop.  My napkin was serving as my journal that day. It'd been a long time since I'd written anything down. It was a conversation that needed to happen, I just wasn't sure what to say. All too often I complicate things with words and then my coffee gets cold.  I remember in college I would have friends over for coffee and our conversation would be so rich, so good, so meaningful and the coffee was always hot.  Nowadays, I find I get so caught up in what I'm going to say that I miss the opportunity to just be in someone’s company and enjoy the experience of communing with others.  I need to be reminded how redeeming the act of listening truly can be.

Dialate: We totally misspelled the word dilate, but I think it works anyway.  My brother once told me when you die your pupils dilate in order to take in as much light as possible.  They do the same when you are attracted to someone.  I tried to capture this in the image of spiritual rebirth.  You know, the account of the man receiving his sight after Jesus rubs mud on his eyes, and the account of wading into the water to be both baptized and married.

Comfort: Comfort was the first song I wrote in college.  I had been reading Psalm 51:17, which says that “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." I spent some time dwelling on the thought that my brokenness will not last forever and it is the beginning of a beautiful process.   

Steal My Heart (If You Leave): This song is about exchanging one heart to have another.  Being vulnerable.  There's something life-changing that happens when you realize someone believes in you.  My wife daily helps me to see color and life in things that I had either feared or grown bitter towards, making it so much easier to give her my heart and very carefully receive her fragile, beautiful heart in return.

In Waiting: I wrote this song while trying out my roommate’s guitar (to make sure it was a decent buy).  The lyrics were inspired by Elisabeth Elliott, who once stated that “waiting is a form of suffering.”  As I was wrapping up this song, I came to the conclusion “that no one wants to suffer, therefore no one wants to wait.”  All throughout college I felt as though I was continually waiting.  Waiting for my major to magically appear, waiting to meet the woman of my dreams, waiting...  Finally I learned "that every step [I took]… could not contain [God’s] steps." Life, salvation, freedom, it has all turned out better than I could have imagined, and it is through the waiting that I am continually prepared for it all.

Daniel 10: It was at Winthrop's Dacus library in college that I had my first encounter with the ESV translation of the bible.  Flipping through the pages, I stumbled upon the book of Daniel and began to read the account of Daniel’s encounter with an angel.  I was flooded with inspiration as I read how the angel repeatedly addressed Daniel by saying "O Daniel, man greatly loved."  Think about it.  An angelic being, who spends all of its existence around the living God,  is calling Daniel a “man greatly loved."  That's not just a sugar-coated statement to make Daniel feel better, it's truth. In this song, I hope to convey the desperation and recovery that Daniel experienced as he said to the angel, "Let my Lord speak, for you have strengthened me." I hope to live as person who is greatly loved and greatly loves.

A New Day: Days after my wife Sarah and I got back from our honeymoon, I wrote a slew of songs for her.  I worked at night and she worked during the day so I would get up with her and make her some breakfast and would have a hot cup of coffee ready when she came out of the shower.  I wrote the first half of this song to lull her to sleep and the second half was written as the coffee percolated and her shower started.  Light, rain, coffee, her gliding on the kitchen floor. A New Day!

Old Heart (To New Town): Sarah and I were uprooted from the comfort of our home and moved to Columbia, SC.  It took a move like this to bring to light just how messed up my heart really was.  I had grown comfortable with my faith and my relationships to the point that I began to secretly resent these facets of my life.  More on this topic is addressed in the song New Year.

A New Year: I wrote A New Year as we were entering into 2010.  I was struggling with how complacent and bitter I had become.  We had been living in my in-laws basement studio apartment for almost two years and it seemed like there was no light at the end of the tunnel.  I began to examine how my relationship with my wife was going, how I was interacting with others and most of all taking an inventory of all that I had done this past year.  I knew I didn't want to stay the same and I knew I had to learn from my past mistakes and insecurities.  A year after writing this song, I dedicated it to a close friend and his wife who were going through a difficult transition at the time.

Only You Remain: This song ended up being both a confession and a prayer to remind me that guilt, fear and shame are something that I can outlive.  That there is grace and beauty and mercy found in justice. 

Forgive Me: Forgive me is the newest of all these songs.  I've gone more in this direction lately. A bit more folkish I think.  Trying to explore more vocally. Trying to work on the confidence thing some more.

Page's Song: Written and performed at the wedding of my dear friends, Jake and Meagan.  

Sway: Sway started with a van full of friends on a trip to Charleston for the weekend.  A wooden deck at the battery, the ocean breeze, and a flag pole clicking to a rhythm all its own.  Dancing and foot-prints in the sand.  The foot-prints reminded me of dance printouts, so I started stepping into each one, thinking about every step this person took along the beach.  I began to think of this dance we call life, and how so many people have gone before us.  I wrote the lyrics to Sway with this image in mind.

... I want to live a life that can be followed, not because I'm perfect or because I always know the way, but because I want to follow the one who has paved the way for me.  Sway is a song about the lessons we learn in the waiting, the joy that comes with community, and the truth and grace that lead us through this dance.  I also dedicated the bridge to my brother who was serving his 2nd tour in Iraq with the Marines at the time.  Thankfully, he has returned home safely.  

... Thanks, Rique!  
Hopefully, when I'm back stateside 
and I open my dream-coffeehouse, 
you'll come play for us one Saturday night. 
(Pretty please?)


  1. The Illustrator's WifeMay 11, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    LOVE this! I love how blogging connects people and, of course, I love Rique Castillo's music. I definitely want to be there when you open your coffee house and Rique plays there!

  2. You will be the first to know, Meagan!

  3. I first discovered the beautiful pair that an acoustic guitar and cello make at a concert on my college campus that I was required to go to for my Music Appreciation class. I think the band then was called Montana Skies. Anyways, your music is great, Rique.


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