Review: Cas Haley – La Si Dah

Review: Cas Haley – La Si Dah

Cas Haley – La Si Dah
Track Listing:
1.) Jackson
2.) La Dah
3.) Mama
4.) Wait For Me
5.) Crazy Good Woman
6.) Capricorn
7.) Let Her Go
8.) I’ve Got My Mojo Working
9.) Trash Day
10.) Slow Down
11.) How Soon is Now?
12.) Tally Tally
13.) Start This Over

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: May 28th, 2013
Record Label: Easy Star Records
Website: Cas Haley Website

Group Background:
Cas Haley is the Texas singer/songwriter best known to American fans as the runner-up on Season Two of America’s Got Talent. Following the show, Haley walked away from a major record deal and released his self-titled debut album in 2008. Two years later, Haley signed with Easy Star Records, which released his sophomore album, “Connection.” The album debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Top 200 Best Selling Reggae Albums. “La Si Dah” is Haley’s third full-length album, made possible by fan contributions via Pledge Music.

Album Review:
If I use a handful of words to describe La Si Dah, they are “diverse,” “personal” and “catchy-as-hell!” The record features three instrumental tracks, two covers and a diverse mix of rhythm and blues, reggae and pop. Many of the songs have a personal, story-telling vibe about the trials and tribulations of life, relationships and the road.

The album starts off with “Jackson,” one of the three instrumental tracks on the album. The track, in addition to instrumentals “Capricorn” and “Trash Day,” demonstrate Haley’s exceptional musicianship and abilities as a producer. “Capricorn” begins as a keys-driven ballad and transitions to a baritone electric guitar, before blending the two into a seamless composition of classic rock and reggae sounds.

“La Si Dah” features two covers, including The Smiths’ 1985 hit “How Soon Is Now?,” and the blues classic “I’ve Got My Mojo Working”—made famous by Muddy Waters in 1957. Haley’s vocals are on full display on “I’ve Got My Mojo Working” and on “Let Her Go”—a deeply personal, steaming blues track. Both tracks have a raw, live feel—even allowing Haley the freedom to throw in some bluesy scat-singing on “Mojo.” For me, Haley’s strength are these R&B-type songs, allowing his seemingly always on-point vocals to shine through and immediately grab the listener.

For the reggae-lovers, La Si Dah offers three tracks, including “Moma,” “Slow Down” and “Crazy Good Woman.” The standout amongst these is the latter. The album version of “Crazy Good Woman” is miles away from the acoustic version many fans have grown to love from The Pier’s Live Acoustic Series. The song’s beginning resembles Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up,” and shifts to a full sound with background singers, a grooving bass line, keys and Haley’s recognizable mix of reggae and R&B.

Haley’s latest effort can’t be nicely placed into a musical box or iTunes drop-down menu. La Si Dah is not a reggae music album, it is not a rock music album, and it is not an R&B music album. La Si Dah is a music lover’s album. And while mixing genres is more art than science, more instinct than formula and more heart than head, Haley proves it can be done and delivers again with La Si Dah.

Written & Reviewed By: Kit Chalberg

[Editor’s Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]

Video: Cas Haley – “Crazy Good Woman” (The Pier’s Live Acoustic Series)