Friday, June 13, 2008

Cas Haley

I recently reviewed the debut album of Cas Haley post-America's Got Talent. He was a shocker. Much like Clay Aiken when he first auditioned for Idol, Cas Haley had a voice and a vibe that just did not fit his body. I think he's an amazing talent, but I am quite disappointed in his album. I am posting my Amazon review below:

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Cas Haley had me glued to the television set during America's Got Talent. He was magnificent. His debut song on the show, "Walking on the Moon", was absolutely brilliant. While Terry Fator was a great ventriloquist and performer, I felt that Cas deserved the win more. He came across as a sensitive, grateful musician and a loving husband and father. He was always humble and gracious and talented.

I never, however, understood why the judges were so insistent on Cas singing reggae. I felt that he really showcased his vocal ability when he went outside the genre and pushed the envelope. His performance of Sam Cooke's "Bring it on Home" was sensational, and his Stevie cover of "Sir Duke" was incredible. Yet both times the judges recommended he stick to his vibe and go back to reggae. I believe that pressure maintained after the show and followed him into the studio.

The covers we are familiar with are solid. The acoustic "Walking on the Moon" is far better than the version with full instrumentals. "Easy" is also fantastic. But beyond that the songs are far too one-dimensional! The subject matter is all the same...LOVE. And lyrically I found the album to be almost entirely insipid. Cas, my man, you've got far too much ability to pigeonhole yourself into this style of music. I love the reggae sound, but you do NOT need to fill an entire album with it. Branch out. Cover some Allmans, some Stevie, some good solid funk. I will forever support you and buy your material because you are just..that..good. But do your listeners a favor and brush off the Hollywood suits. Do your own thing.

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Here is his version of The Police's Walking on the Moon (right click and select "open in a new window") that he sang for his first America's Got Talent audition.

I am an admitted prolific downloader and cyber-pirate, but I encourage everyone to support guys like this by buying their work. We need more musicians like Cas Haley in the world.

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