-Tricia Halloran, KCRW, Los Angeles
As Casey reflects, he was “born and raised in Nashville, then born and raised in Los Angeles, then killed and reborn in New York City, before being reincarnated in Nashville.” Casey’s beginnings as a songwriter were shaped by his father, Charlie Black, an NSAI Hall of Fame country-songwriter, who penned many #1 hit songs. Endowed there with a dark lyrical particularity, as well as a respect and knack for the craft, Casey signed with EMI Music Publishing Nashville at 19 years old, where he wrote with some of the Row’s greatest writers, and according to Casey, got “all the cocky, prima-donna, young-artist stuff beaten out of me by people who actually knew how to write songs.” While his craft improved, his muse became aloof during his three years at EMI, and so, in order to “be as poor and lost as other people my age–to have something true to write about,” Casey moved to Los Angeles.
In the next five years he wrote and recorded two records–‘Vacations’, and ‘The Glass is Half’–the first of which was placed on KCRW Los Angeles deejay Tricia Halloran’s top 10 records of 2005; the second having songs placed on ABC’s show Greek, and Lifetime’s Army Wives. He also cut his live-show teeth, playing some of LA’s great singer-songwriter venues, like the House of Blues and Hotel Cafe.
In 2008, in order to finish his degree at Columbia University, Casey moved again, this time to New York, and after a school-induced music hiatus, he happened upon a show featuring Niall Connolly, the Irish-born figurehead of Brooklyn’s Big City Folk scene. Inspired by the literary and honest approach to songwriting of the scene’s players, he threw himself back into music and made his third record, It Shapes Me As It Goes, before playing shows in New England, the South, LA and Ireland.
Drawing a close to a circular decade, Casey recently returned to Tennessee, where he lives with his wife in a small country house outside of Nashville. Casey’s fourth studio album, ‘Lay You In The Loam,’ releases on June 18, 2013 through the newly launched, CatBeach Music. ‘Loam’ features 10 new original songs and was recorded and produced by Emmy-award winning songwriter/producer Bobby Hartry at CatBeach Studios in Los Angeles.
‘Lay You In The Loam’ is something of a coming of age story – exploring themes of life, death and rebirth…’Like loam, there is grit, decay and darkness, but also fertility, and the struggle to grow up, or push deeper.’ ’The Loam’ spans between the earthy blend of Casey’s baritone voice and acoustic guitar accompanied by a beautiful and haunting pedal steel performance by Greg Leisz on ‘Smoke In My Eyes,’ to quirky and otherworldly synth and omnichord textures, featuring the vocals of Bird and the Bee’s Inara George on the song “Dig Together” to the spring reverb drenched and vocal layered textures found in “Son”, which is both moving and unsettling when paired with a regretful and poignant lyric.
The first single from Loam, “Fire Fire Fire Fire,” fuses an earnest and steely eyed monologue, reminiscent of Steve Earle, with an unrelenting pulse that demands your full attention. Instrumentally, the track builds into a storm that develops sonically into a full gale force.
To complement Casey’s masterful songwriting, some of LA’s finest musicians were enlisted for this project, including Aaron Sterling on drums (John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Glen Campbell), Jonathan Ahrens on bass (Jewel, Jason Mraz), and Greg Liesz on pedal steel (Ray LaMontagne, Wilco, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Iver).
Casey’s ‘Lay You In The Loam’ was released June 18, 2013 on CatBeach Music, with follow up shows in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles and a tour in Ireland.