Cas Haley, a Texas singer/songwriter (who you might have heard of through his America's Got Talent - finalist profile in 2007), has a new album out called La Si Dah which has some heavy blues influence on it.
When Cas Haley set out to make the follow-up to his successful 2010 release Connection, one thing drove him in the writing and planning for the sessions. “I kept thinking,” says the Paris, TX-based singer/songwriter, “if I died tomorrow, and my kids had only one musical statement through which to know me, what would I want that record to be?” The resulting record, La Si Dah, is packed with what makes Cas Haley who he is: personal lyrics, musical diversity, outstanding musicianship and authenticity. Adding to this unique vibe is the manner in which the recording sessions were financed; working with the crowd-sourcing website Pledge Music, Haley was able to raise money through his fans (many of whom are thanked in the record).
La Si Dah, released on May 28, 2013 on Easy Star Records, was produced by Haley himself, with consultation on the recording by his good friend, the Grammy-Award Winning Producer/Engineer Rob Fraboni, best known for his work with Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Keith Richards and The Rolling Stones. When it came to the recording process, the above principles driving Cas led him to aim for a more authentic sound, in line with the honesty and integrity he tries to live by in his daily life. As Cas so passionately states, “Being in a world so heavily influenced by commercialism and the expectations of perfection paired with the technology and tools to synthesize that perfection, in my opinion, has zapped the very essence out of the majority of music today. The last two years I have been searching for the solution to this problem. With the guidance of my great friend and mentor Rob Fraboni, this album is my attempt to find the spirit of music.” La Si Dah’s pure sound and vibe was accomplished by using the recording techniques of Rob Fraboni. “The first thing we did was take away all elements of separation. All the instruments and most of the vocals were recorded in the same room at the same time with no isolation and no headphones. Fraboni is from the day when capturing the sound of the performance was the goal versus manipulating them,” Haley enthusiastically adds.
The 13 tracks on La Si Dah continue Cas’s ability to mine his own personal narrative for poignant and catchy songs. First single “La Dah,” came from a dream Cas had about his grandmother, where she helped him to forgive his father for things he had never done for Cas. (You can stream “La Dah” for free at https://soundcloud.com/caspromo/la-dah.) “Wait For Me,” a powerful ballad, reads like a personal love letter to his wife from the road. “Let Her Go,” a slow burner steeped in old R&B, came out of a weekend spent with his father, jamming together and discussing his parents’ marriage. The nyabinghi-drum inflected “Tally Tally” grew from ongoing conversations with his manager, where the two of them had to come to terms with their own personality differences to further Cas’s career goals. Just as important to the record are three instrumentals (“Jackson,” “Capricorn,” “Trash Day”) that help show off Cas’s natural abilities as a musician, since the focus on him is most often squarely on his powerful voice. Cas Haley official site
Marty's review: Cas Haley's third album is another 5 star effort. Haley's multi-functional vocals cover the likes of soul, blues, reggae and pop, and he does so on this album to his full potential. The musicianship is upbeat, tight and very polished without being over-produced. Combining soulful blues and funky reggae with elements of pop, rock and calypso, every track is a winner. Blues influenced tracks are "Let Her Go", "Mojo", "Wait For Me" and "Trash Day" whilst the other tracks have a reggae beat that is infectous and in keeping with the true reggae sound. 3 of the tracks are instrumental ("Trash Day", "Jackson" and "Capricorn") and there is one beautiful ballad, "Wait For Me". If you are looking for comparisons or influences, I would say Bob Marley, Grayson Hughes and Booker T & the MG's. The album, however, stands out on its own regardless of any comparisons, and Cas has done a fine job again. A talent that does not disappoint and deserves a place in your music collection.
Below are two Soundcloud links to listen to two blues songs off the album - "I've Got My Mojo Working" and "Let Her Go"