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Lay You In The Loam - Casey Black
Buy Lay You In The Loam


LABEL: CatBeach Music
RELEASE DATE: Single: May 7th, 2013 Album: June 18, 2013
FORMATS: Physical, Digital

Casey Black is the Nashville-born, Columbia-University-educated, gravel-voiced, literary singer-songwriting son of Charlie Black, NSAI Hall of Fame songwriter of more than a dozen #1 country hits. Casey wrote his first song at twelve years old, released his first "record" three years later (a cassette of songs he recorded in his basement on his father's hand-me-down equipment), and signed with EMI Music Publishing Nashville at nineteen, making him one of the youngest staff songwriters on Music Row.

There he wrote with some of the Row's greatest writers, including his father, 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 made 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. His new record, Lay You In The Loam (recorded on Catbeach Music, in Los Angeles) is due out in late spring of this year. Casey, who owns more books than he does records, writes a literary lyric in the conversational, storytelling style–songs about optimistic pessimists, about the battles between the brain and the guts–and his deep singing voice is tumbled with gravel. It's a unique and compelling combination, one which may, as KCRW's Tricia Halloran put it, restore one's "faith in the lost art of damn fine songwriting." Casey recently returned from two tours in Ireland, the first with Mick Flannery; the second with Niall Connolly. Shows in New York, LA and Nashville are in the cards for the near future, and he plans on returning to Ireland later this year.


“Casey Black has restored my faith in the lost art of damn fine songwriting.” - Tricia Halloran, KCRW, Los Angeles



A country music wunderkind of sorts, Casey Black has been writing hits since the age of 19.  Son of legendary songwriter, Charlie Black, Casey was signed to EMI Music Publishing right out of high school, making him one of the youngest staff songwriters on Music Row; that he was also a musician meant that he had the good fortune to have both of his feet in the door.  Opportunities like that don’t come along every day, and Black didn’t let them go to waste.  After learning his craft alongside some of Nashville’s greatest songwriters, he left Nashville for Los Angeles in order to, as he states, “be as poor and lost as other people my age—to have something true to write about.”  Situated on the West Coast, his first two albums, Vacations and The Glass Is Half, were released in 2004 and 2008, respectively, earning critical praise for his gravel voice and stellar compositions.

But that was a long time ago, and after relocating to New York City and redefining his sound with the release of 2011’s It Shapes Me As It Goes, Black has returned home to Nashville and settled with a family, a house, and a whole lot of Southern influence.  And so his new album, Lay You in the Loam, arrived this month heralding a grizzled, mature, and incredibly introspective Casey Black.  Of course the album has its share of love and heartbreak, but Black achieves catharsis through addressing his existential woes: “I’ve spent my whole life, thinking about my whole life,” he sings in the chorus from the second track, “I’ve Spent My Whole Life.”  He also seems willing to project outward as he does with the album’s first single, “Fire Fire Fire Fire.”  The build and emotion of the song—which to this reviewer sounds like a rant against American policies such as the Immigration Reform debacle—has all the passion of hotbed political debates.

It’s evident that Black’s vocals have evolved on this album. His bellowing voice has become far grittier—think of it as older Springsteen (a comparison he is continually measured against). The track “Smoke In My Eyes,” a true cowboy’s lament on his past and present follies, uses this lower range to evoke great sincerity.  However, even more impressive is that Black has somehow preserved the ability to hit a few high notes when it counts.  In the emotionally-packed narrative of “Son,” his strained, higher-pitched vocals never waver and work angelically with the sustained lap guitar backing his way through a song that comes across as a confession of sorts about a man’s anxiety about whether he truly became the father he’d always wanted to become.

But if the narrators in his songs often face shortcomings, Black the musician doesn’t suffer any real failures on this album.  In fact, the greatest accomplishment on Lay You in the Loam is how much of an outlaw Black has become since his last release; now at home in Nashville, he no longer has to play into the contemporary setting of L.A. or the low-fi club structure of New York.  Black takes enormous pride in his roots, and the rebellious South—full of Americana—seeps out of every pore.   “The Idiot” embodies the lore of Country greats like Waylon Jennings or Willie Nelson through podunk bass lines, modulating church organ, and good ole’ guitar twang—however, there is, of course, a refreshing modern spin to it.  Furthermore, “Trouble,” the album’s eighth track feels as though Black—just another drifter trying to shed some of the weight he’s been carrying on his trail to redemption—is singing from the dark pit of a whiskey saloon, chicken wire stage and all.

Only one track, “Dig Together,” fails to fit the mold. Though still a dreamy anthem, any outlaw zeal it might have had is lost via overproduction and a pop-like song structure. Accompanied by Inara George (The Bird and the Bee), too much of its five-minute length is filled with ethereal backup singers and a reverberating texture that is better suited to Lady Antebellum than the raw songwriting of Black.

By album’s end, it’s clear that Casey Black has released a true work of art. He is the Everyman; his humble lyricism and grunting delivery has never been as effective as it is now.  Lay You in the Loam is an album that allows a weathered soul to begin purging himself as he searches in his southern roots for a penance of sorts.

Posted by Gabriel A for http://thevenomblog.com

Casey Black releases his fourth studio album – Lay You In The Loam - 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. The video for the first single from Loam, “Fire Fire Fire Fire," premiered earlier this week. The single fuses an earnest and steely eyed monologue, reminiscent of Steve Earle or The Nightwatchman with an unrelenting pulse that demands your full attention. Instrumentally, the track builds into a storm that develops sonically.

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