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BRAIDS "Native Speaker" LP Streaming Now

BRAIDS was formed by four best friends in their last year of High School in Calgary, Alberta. Convincing one another to skip university, they stayed in the garage all year and practiced obsessively, even while their fingers froze during the cold prairie winters. Then, at only 18 years old, they took the bold step of moving across the country together to Montreal, where they began crafting their self recorded/self produced debut album Native Speaker.

Oscillating between density and spaciousness, BRAIDS' sound is not easy to define. The four members construct music which is ample and rolling, perhaps alluding to the landscapes of their youth, but filled with radical texture and startling immediacy, an influence of their more recent surroundings. Delicate layering gives their experimental pop epics just enough breath to playfully explore the depth of ambient melody. Though BRAIDS dives into moments of deep obscurity and sonic experimentation, there remains embedded within the music the hypnosis of an unforgettable pop tune.

Native Speaker, is the accumulation of months of meticulous craft-work to properly capture the band's entrancing live performance. The albums' songs were tested and shaped through numerous performances and lyrical massages, resulting in work that is brilliant in detail and structure. Averaging over 6 minutes and never coming in under 4, the tracks on Native Speaker maintain a deep seeded focus.


BRAIDS has an unusually collaborative dynamic, generating all of their sweeping sounds live in a synergistic maelstrom. Even their name, BRAIDS, evokes a feeling of something continuous and progressive, yet lush and intertwining. It implies the interweaving of all four members' musical ideas, favoring collective and equal input.

On January 18, 2011 BRAIDS is putting forth their debut album Native Speaker, a reflection of coming of age for the four intricately linked musicians. It captures a period of innocence and a period of change, yet comes off as strikingly mature beyond their years. Most importantly, it displays a yearning and striving to break through, an ambitious debut for a young band just getting started.

Click Here To Listen To "Native Speaker" on Hype Machine

BRAIDS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES:

01-20 Montreal QC - La Sala Rossa RECORD RELEASE PARTY
01-21 Ottawa, ON - Mavericks
01-22 Quebec, QC - Le Cercle
01-27 Laval, QC - Studio Theatre Maison Des Arts
01-28 Kingston, ON - The Grad Club
01-30 Cincinnati, OH - MOTR Pub
01-31 Louisville, KY - Zanzabar
02-01 St. Louis, MO - The Old Rock House
02-02 Norman, OK - Opolis
02-04 Dallas, TX - Club Dada *$
02-05 Austin, TX - The Mohawk *$
02-07 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade *$
02-08 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder *$
02-09 West Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern *$
02-11 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel *$
02-12 Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory *$
02-13 Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie *$
02-16 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge *$
02-17 Allston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *$
02-18 Montreal, Quebec - Il Motore *$
02-19 Toronto, ON - El Mocambo *$
02-21 Columbus, OH - Skully's Music Diner *$
02-22 Urbana, IL - Canopy Club *$
02-23 Iowa City, IA - Gabe's *$
02-24 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry *$
02-25 Madison, WI - Der Rathskellar (University of Wisconsin) *$
02-26 Chicago, IL - Subterranean *$
03-01 Seattle, WA - Chop Suey *
03-02 Portland, OR - Holocene *
03-03 Arcata, CA - Jambalaya *$
03-04 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop *
03-05 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *
03-10 Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar %
03-11 San Diego, CA - Casbah %
03-12 Las Vegas, NV - Neon Reverb Festival %
03-14 Santa Fe, NM - Corazon %
03-21 Tempe, AZ - Sail Inn !~
03-26 Kennewick, WA - The Red Room !~
03-28 Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret !
04-06 Bloomington, IN - The Bishop !
04-13 Baltimore, MD - Talking Head !

* Baths
$ Star Slinger
% Asobi Seksu
! Toro Y Moi ~ Cloud Nothings

Jon Hardy & the Public to release 'A Hard Year'

Acclaimed purveyors of resonating Americana, Jon Hardy & the Public prepare for the January 25 release of a new stand-out EPA Hard Year - continuing their tradition of being St. Louis' "best kept secret" and announce a very special hometown show to celebrate!

Jon Hardy’s voice is deep and true, expressing yearning, pain, and triumph all at the same time. The St. Louis singer/songwriter and his band, The Public, make music that has bowled over critics at outlets like NPR, No Depression and hometown weekly Riverfront Times. “I asked fellow music writer Roy Kasten to name a better song than Hardy’s ‘Cassius Clay’ to come out of St. Louis since Uncle Tupelo’s ‘Gun,’” wrote that paper’s Christian Schaefer. “He couldn’t.”

Indeed, the group’s Americana-rooted sound often draws comparisons to Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar’s early work, though it also incorporates horn-driven soul and stomping, anthemic rock a la Bruce Springsteen. Also featuring Glenn Labarre on lead guitar, Johnny Kidd on keyboards, Greg Shadwick on bass and Mike Schurk on drums, The Public are also influenced by Randy Newman, and released a four song cover EP of his tracks called Little Criminals. “There’s something in his voice that gives me the impression that he’s on the outside looking in, that he’s not invited to the party,” says Hardy. “His songs are comforting and troubling all at the same time.”

This uneasy combination was recently featured as NPR’s Song of the Day with the single “Worst I Ever Had”. “Brilliantly capturing that desperate feeling lying somewhere between lust and fear,” wrote NPR’s Ben Westhoff, “the group shows why they probably won’t be simply regional favorites for much longer.”

The two EPs followed the group’s 2005 debut Make Me Like Gold, which No Depression writer Ed Ward said was “about as original as any grass-roots recording by a guitar-based band is going to get at this late date” and their 2007 disc Working In Love. That album featured the show-stopping “Cassius Clay” and songs concerning Hardy’s recent divorce; in many ways the album was a letter to his ex-wife. “That was the best way I knew to tell her what I was thinking and feeling,” he says.
In recent years, Jon Hardy & The Public have performed with acclaimed acts including Okkervil River, The Avett Brothers, White Denim, John Vanderslice, Pernice Brothers and White Rabbits and drawn comparisons to Spoon. Their music has been played on college and community radio stations from coast to coast.
Hardy was raised in Webster Groves, just outside of St. Louis, by a Presbyterian preacher father and a mother whose work included substitute teaching. “It was a strange mix of liberal and conservative,” Hardy says. “My dad would always spend time reading to us about the civil rights movement. At the same time, TV was not smiled upon and music was carefully reviewed.” Having grown up on his parents’ classic rock and pop records, he taught himself guitar largely from listening to blues players like Lightnin’ Hopkins and B.B. King on local radio.
His first band was a power pop outfit called Shelby. “I remember I was very afraid of being in front of people and performing,” he says. “I don’t know that I’ve completely gotten over it.” An odd thing to say, as Jon Hardy & The Public’s shows have the inspirational quality of a revival meeting worthy of his father. Often featuring a full horns section and a faithful cover of Springsteen’s “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” they are largely responsible for the band’s considerable grassroots following in the Midwest.
Shadwick joined the group not long before he and Hardy were laid off from their jobs. He joined Labarre (a former fan of the band who came aboard shortly after Make Me Like Gold), Kidd (who brought a soul and pop aesthetic to the group) and Schurk, who answered a craigslist ad and bested other potential stickmen in a try-out. All five members collaborate on their albums’ stunning production, which highlights each member’s considerable musicianship without sacrificing their raw power.
Hardy makes it clear that he and The Public are dedicated to making quality tracks that stand the test of time. “We all still have to work other jobs to pay the bills, and in the meantime we’re trying to create good music,” he says. He’s also firmly rooted in his community, penning songs largely for himself and his friends. It just so happens that these tunes -- in all their rumbling power -- resonate with folks he’s never met. A sound as big as theirs, it turns out, has a hard time being contained.

Ellie Goulding To Release Special Version Of "Lights"

Already a success in her native England, 24 year-old UK singer and songwriter Ellie Goulding will release a special US full length of LIGHTS March 8th on Cherrytree/ Interscope Records. The US version will include three songs (“Lights,” “Animal,” and “Your Song”) not available on the original UK version. Produced by Starsmith, Goulding’s full length release LIGHTS shot to #1 on the UK chart in March 2010. This past December “Your Song” hit #2 on the charts and #1 on the iTunes Chart and the video has received over 6 million views. “Starry Eyed” has already received over 12.5 million views on YouTube.
This past September, Ellie made her maiden voyage to the US in support of her EP, AN INTRODUCTION TO ELLIE GOULDING.  She performed in New York and Los Angeles to rave reviews. The New Yorker called Ellie “the future of music” and the Los Angeles Times raved, “her set seemed to cement her pop bona fides.” “She can reel off some powerful drum and guitar chops and her voice is a serious and sure instrument in person.”
Ellie has received numerous accolades from her motherland in the form of The Critics Choice Award at the 2010 Brit Awards and topped the BBC sound of 2010 poll. Goulding’s debut CD has garnered much critical praise. NME calls Lights, “never less than stunning…it marks the emergence of a smart, sincere and talented new pop star,” and Q declares, “There is undeniable greatness afoot here.”
Described as “electro-folk-acoustic-pop,” Ellie’s songs mix heartfelt emotion with other-worldly atmospherics, spinning electronica into dreamy warmth.

Ian Moore's 'El Sonido Nuevo' set for March release

El Sonido Nuevo, the seventh studio record from Austin-raised, Seattle-based singer-songwriter Ian Moore, bridges the gap between the stylistic offshoots of his past few records and the guitar-slinging bravado that characterized his earlier, often bluesier, output. “The album is a retrenching in the face of a diffuse pop culture landscape,” says Moore, now fronting power-pop trio the Lossy Coils for El Sonido Nuevo. “Every band has ten members, every movie is a sequel, there are 500 channels and nothing’s on.”

El Sonido Nuevo, due out March 8, 2011 on Seattle-based label Spark & Shine, distributed by Burnside Distribution, will be available in all formats including vinyl. Digital distribution on iTunes and the rest of the digital world will be through IODA. The iTunes release will have two bonus tracks not on the CD.  The trio will perform songs from the new collection at a handful of Texas and Oklahoma concert dates beginning on March 3, leading up to shows at South by Southwest (March 15–20, 2011) in Austin, Texas.

A certain sentiment rings out loud and clear, from the opening track, “Secondhand Store,” right on through the album: “We wrote it after South by Southwest when we were dealing with that onslaught of hipsters taking over the East Side of Austin — everybody has an angle and nobody seems to be actually doing anything,” says Moore, whose songwriting lets loose lyrics peppered with relevant and provocative topics. “It’s a mish-mash of jaded feelings in a dark moment.”

The Lossy Coils, formed in Seattle in the mid-2000s, features Moore, bassist Matt Harris (Oranger, Posies), and drummer Kyle Schneider (Johnny Goudie). The album was co-written with Harris, who has also played with Roky Erikson and Pavement’s Spiral Stairs. With Moore’s inspiring guitar work leading the way, El Sonido Nuevo alternates between rockers and ballads, pure songs and pure sounds, with a lush pop introduction that follows the same Beatles-by-the-way-of-Big Star thread that has informed the best work of contemporaries like Wilco.

Moore, a prodigy of self-invention, has built a career following his artistic instincts, which hasn’t always worked from a business perspective. Still, he’s been steadily accruing fans by staying on the road doing everything from solo acoustic shows to full band gigs in the U.S. and abroad. Moore’s skilled musicianship has been requested by many of his stylistic forefathers. Milestones include playing “Like a Rolling Stone” on the road with Bob Dylan, drinking goblets of wine and trading guitar riffs with Keith Richards on tour with the Rolling Stones, exchanging mix tapes with Paul Weller, performing “Whisky River” with Willie Nelson, singing a duet with Emmylou Harris, and backing artists as divergent as Roky Erikson and Jason Mraz.

Moore’s pared-back band on the record was a purposeful step into stripping away artifice and décor.  The songs on El Sonido Nuevo are simple and direct. Previously Moore might have been inclined to layer sonics and complex arrangements; here the record is straightforward, the songs clean and without ornamentation. Moore returns to the boundaries of what he can do with six strings and his largely unsung, soulful voice.

Born in Berkeley, Calif., Moore grew up in Austin, Texas, and made his mark there in the early ’90s as a blues-guitar virtuoso. Early sideman duty for Texas roots legend Joe Ely led to a 1993 self-titled solo record on Capricorn that propelled Moore to those critical opening gigs for the Stones and Dylan, as well as a notable appearance in Billy Bob Thornton’s indie hit film Slingblade. Moore’s broad palette of influences and interests was further explored in the video for “Harlem,” directed by rapper and actor Ice Cube.

Critics have long loved Moore’s studio output: Dave Hickey in Art in America magazine called his Modernday Folklore “one of the best moments in contemporary art in 1996,” while Harp magazine observed, “Since the early ’90s the native Texan has refused corporate molding in favor of freedom and the artistic rewards are staggering.” Moore’s 2004 release Luminaria received numerous accolades, including from Billboard’s Chris Morris, who noted, “The burden of the contemporary singer/ songwriter is in formulating a sound that is completely unique. With Luminaria, Ian Moore accomplishes just that.” And of his most recent release, 2007’s To Be Loved, All Music Guide wrote, “Moore has created a brand of challenging yet highly melodic new-millennium pop-rock that establishes him as an audacious songwriter and player. He has struck that rare balance between astute complexity and utter pop appeal.”

Moore has been placed into the circle of guitarist-songwriters likes Mayfield, Hendrix, and Buckley, “where pop isn't a dirty word and where music comes straight from the soul.” He has made hundreds of television appearances, from regional TV shows to the Today show and the Late Show With David Letterman to a one-hour Direct TV special, while avid watchers of American Idol have seen contestants cover Moore’s songs “Blue Sky” and “Satisfied.” And the Austin Music Awards have repeatedly voted him Best Singer, Musician and Band.

The manner in which Moore has moved across styles and cultural boundaries has rallied critics but, sometimes, confused his longtime fans. On El Sonido Nuevo, the blues and rock guitar he’s best known for is back, bolstered by confident songwriting and the absorbed echoes of those influences and stylistic adventures.

With El Sonido Nuevo, Moore’s musical journey bands together all these disparate influences with a confidence, subtlety, depth and, some would argue, a return to form on the guitar.

--

Tour dates:

Thurs., March 3  CORPUS CHRISTIE, TX House of Rock
Sat., March 5  AUSTIN, TX Continental Club
Sun., March 6  AUSTIN, TX Waterloo Records in-store
Sat., March 12  HOUSTON, TX Continental Club

Al Di Meola Visits Strawberry Fields

On 'Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody,' out March 15th on Telarc International, a division of Concord Music Group, bona fide guitar hero and virtuoso of the highest order Al Di Meola teams up with members of his World Sinfonia ensemble, jazz bass great Charlie Haden and GRAMMY-award winning Cuban jazz pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba on a hauntingly beautiful and deeply moving version of the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” that imbues the classic pop tune with profound feeling, and shows how dazzling Di Meola's electric guitar can be even when delicately restrained.

Di Meola's laid-back interplay with Haden's acoustic bass, Gonzalo Rubalcaba's piano, Peter Kazsas' drums and Gumbi Ortiz and Mino Cinelu's percussion creates a wistfulness appropriate to John Lennon's hazy memories of a garden near his childhood home.

Hear Al Di Meola's "Strawberry Fields" from 'Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody' on Huffington Post here.

B.B. King with Hazel Miller Trio @ Boulder Theater

His reign as King of the Blues has been as long as that of any monarch on earth. Yet B.B. King continues to wear his crown well. At age 76, he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no apparent effect on B.B., other than to make him more popular, more cherished, more relevant than ever. Don't look for him in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him out on the road, playing for people, popping up in a myriad of T.V. commercials, or laying down tracks for his next album. B.B. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can't get enough of him.

For more than half a century, Riley B. King - better known as B.B. King - has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over fifty albums, many of them classics. Over the years, B.B. has developed one of the world's most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex vocal-like string bends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of rock guitarist's vocabulary. His economy, his every-note-counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players, from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck. B.B. has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound. In B.B.'s words, "When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille."

B.B. continues to tour extensively, averaging over 250 concerts per year around the world. Classics such as "Payin' The Cost To Be The Boss," "The Thrill Is Gone," How Blue Can You Get," "Everyday I Have The Blues," and "Why I Sing The Blues" are concert (and fan) staples. Over the years, the Grammy Award-winner has had two #1 R&B hits, 1951's "Three O'Clock Blues," and 1952's "You Don't Know Me," and four #2 R&B hits, 1953's "Please Love Me," 1954's "You Upset Me Baby," 1960's "Sweet Sixteen, Part I," and 1966's "Don't Answer The Door, Part I." B.B.'s most popular crossover hit, 1970's "The Thrill Is Gone," went to #15 pop.

More Info / Buy Tickets

Eric Comstock & Randy Napoleon Release Bittersweet

The pianist & vocalist Eric Comstock, a star of the Off-Broadway hit OUR SINATRA known for his pop and jazz interpretations, and guitarist Randy Napoleon, currently of the Freddy Cole Quartet, have collaborated on a uniquely intimate voice/guitar CD, "Bitter/Sweet", on Harbinger Records.

Co-produced by Comstock and Katherine Miller, "Bitter/Sweet" features songs by Rodgers & Hart, Jobim (with a lyric by the late Susannah McCorkle), Lane and Lerner, Billy Strayhorn, Henry Mancini, Billy May, Paul Weston and others from the American, Brazilian and English songbooks, all arranged by Comstock and Napoleon. Standards such as "I Have Dreamed," "This Can't Be Love," "Gone With the Wind," "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams," "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," and "If I Had You" are joined by such rarities as Roger Schore's lyric to Strayhorn's "Ballad for Very Tired and Very Sad Lotus-Eaters". The album also includes "Two for the Road," on which Comstock is joined by his wife, celebrated vocalist Barbara Fasano. Comstock’s other CDs include “No One Knows”, “Young Man of Manhattan” and “All Hart”, and he is profiled in Will Friedwald's new book "The Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers" (Pantheon, 2010). Napoleon's arrangements are heard on Cole's Grammy-nominated salute to Billy Eckstine, "Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B."

Comstock and Napoleon first worked together at a concert for Lincoln Center's American Songbook in 2003, and felt it was time to record the duets they have performed in concert halls and festivals around the country in the years since. Napoleon says, "This is one of my favorite musical combinations. Whoever first carved a guitar out of a block of wood must have had a singer in mind -- guitar and voice are that natural together. Eric is also a first-rate pianist and accompanist, so I was particularly honored when he asked me to record with guitar and voice alone."

Comstock adds, "We live in a noisy world, and Randy and I are trying to show that whatever is worth saying musically can be said softly and slowly. This album is an antidote to stress, and Randy and I are extremely proud of it."

Comstock returns to the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room with Barbara Fasano on January 4th in a new show entitled, "HELLUVA TOWN: A  New York Soundtrack", featuring an idiosyncratic  mix of songs from Broadway and Hollywood, the pop singer-songwriters, and the jazz songbook.  Performances of "HELLUVA TOWN", which continue through January 15th, 2011, are Tuesdays through Thursdays at 8:30pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 and 11pm.

BRAIDS Announce North American 2011 Winter Tour

BRAIDS was formed by four best friends in their last year of High School in Calgary, Alberta. Convincing one another to skip university, they stayed in the garage all year and practiced obsessively, even while their fingers froze during the cold prairie winters. Then, at only 18 years old, they took the bold step of moving across the country together to Montreal, where they began crafting their self recorded/self produced debut album Native Speaker.

Oscillating between density and spaciousness, BRAIDS' sound is not easy to define. The four members construct music which is ample and rolling, perhaps alluding to the landscapes of their youth, but filled with radical texture and startling immediacy, an influence of their more recent surroundings. Delicate layering gives their experimental pop epics just enough breath to playfully explore the depth of ambient melody. Though BRAIDS dives into moments of deep obscurity and sonic experimentation, there remains embedded within the music the hypnosis of an unforgettable pop tune.

Native Speaker, is the accumulation of months of meticulous craft-work to properly capture the band's entrancing live performance. The albums' songs were tested and shaped through numerous performances and lyrical massages, resulting in work that is brilliant in detail and structure. Averaging over 6 minutes and never coming in under 4, the tracks on Native Speakermaintain a deep seeded focus.

BRAIDS has an unusually collaborative dynamic, generating all of their sweeping sounds live in a synergistic maelstrom. Even their name, BRAIDS, evokes a feeling of something continuous and progressive, yet lush and intertwining. It implies the interweaving of all four members' musical ideas, favoring collective and equal input.

On January 18, 2011 BRAIDS is putting forth their debut album Native Speaker, a reflection of coming of age for the four intricately linked musicians. It captures a period of innocence and a period of change, yet comes off as strikingly mature beyond their years. Most importantly, it displays a yearning and striving to break through, an ambitious debut for a young band just getting started.

BRAIDS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES

11-30 New York, NY - Knitting Factory ^
12-01 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom ^
02-04 Dallas, TX - The Nightmare *
02-05 Austin, TX - The Mohawk *
02-07 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade *
02-08 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder *
02-09 Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern *
02-10 Durham, NC - Duke Coffeehouse (Duke University) *
02-11 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel *
02-12 Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory *
02-13 Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie *
02-16 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge *
02-17 Allston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *
02-18 Montreal, Quebec - Il Motore *
02-21 Columbus, OH - Skully's Music Diner *
02-22 Urbana, IL - The Canopy *
02-23 Iowa City, IA - Gabe's *
02-24 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry *
02-25 Madison, WI - Der Rathskellar (University of Wisconsin) *
02-26 Chicago, IL - Subterranean *
03-01 Seattle, WA - Chop Suey *
03-02 Portland, OR - Holocene *
03-04 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop *
03-05 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *

^ with the Radio Dept. * with Baths, Star Slinger

Cas Haley at the Fox Theater on 12/1/2010

Cas Haley is breaking out on his own terms.

Connection, his Easy Star Records debut, is aptly named. It’s all about those deep-running connections that make him what he is—those unbreakable links between artist and audience, between styles of music, between art and life, and most of all, between all people. As Cas points out, reggae’s core message is, after all, "one love."

His crystalline voice and funky, easygoing beats earned Cas a second-place finish on America’s Got Talent, which in turn netted him a measure of fame and a following. But the contest also locked the Texan singer/songwriter/guitarist into a major label deal that didn’t feel right. So, not wanting to be turned into a manufactured product, he struck out on his own. The superb result: Connection, a collection of songs basking in the philosophical and musical maturity that comes from staying true to his artistic vision.

Raised by musician parents, Cas grew up surrounded by the sounds of blues and 60s-70s rock. He got serious about the guitar at age 12 and was "taught by the tribe" of musicians passing through the house. "The kitchen would be turned into the practice room or for jam sessions, so I was pretty much born into that lifestyle," he says. And from the very beginning he was more inclined to create his own music than to slavishly learn covers.

Also prominent at home were the Bob Marley records his mother would play, which made a profound impression. After a period of heavy immersion in the sounds of the ska/punk/skateboard culture, Cas was blown away by the classic reggae-pop of bands like UB40 and Sublime, and his mature style began to take shape.

Those pop-inflected island grooves and his joyful, versatile voice helped bring Cas to the brink of stardom on America’s Got Talent and sell 30,000 copies of a debut album with virtually no promotion. And they’re fundamental to the soul of his music—what he calls the "relaxing, effortless playing where everything fits together." Elements of soul, blues, and pop swirl through Cas’s strong reggae beats. Just like disparate musical styles, "we’re way more connected than we think," Cas says. "We separate ourselves in so many different ways, but the whole theme of the album is that we’re all connected."

"Every color," he sings in the title track, "is created from the same light."

Easy Star, the leading U.S.-based independent reggae label, is the ideal home for Connection. The label has been stretching beyond its strictly roots-reggae format, signing progressive bands and artists like John Brown’s Body, Tommy T, and The Black Seeds. “Cas’s sound is unique, accessible, and a great way to keep expanding the Easy Star audience," says CEO Eric Smith. "And it’s not often we come across a singer-songwriter this talented, regardless of genre, so we had to work with Cas.”

Mixed by Danny Kalb (Ben Harper, Beck), Connection bristles with chill grooves, rocking guitars, and funky horns, all fueling Cas’s irresistible melodies. Meanwhile his lyrics effortlessly balance simple, spiritual truths with thoughtful reflection. Cas’s songs recognize the complexities of life—love, family, worldly troubles and uncertainties—but always come back to the central message of connection.

It’s the journey that matters; Cas is aiming for success on his own terms. "If I’m not doing it authentically then I don’t want it," he says. His only goal: "To authentically express myself and help others do the same. Because it’s a sweet life to be able to do that."

Catch Cas Haley at the Fox Theater in Boulder on December 1st, 2010.

Stars to Headline the Fillmore | 11/10

Stars, a Canadian Indie act, will be headline the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on November 10th.  Henry Hauser, will be on-hand to cover their show.  Read what Henry had to say had to say from a previous write-up for the Cornell Daily Sun:

“Storming the florally adorned set of the State Theatre Friday evening, Toronto based indie pop group Stars immediately brought four fifths of the crowd to their feet. Building a swirling hurricane with golden organ and tin-laced percussion; the velvety vocal of Amy Millan weaved the band's inaugural track. In "The Night Starts Here," we are advised to "forget your name, forget your fear," as the tumbling, externalized vocal melody of male bandleader Torquil Campbell refocused our energies on "the ecstasy, the being free, the big black cloud over you and me." Reminiscent of the Baroque style chamber pop that propelled The Arcade Fire's Neon Bible onto countless "Best of 2007" manifestos, the Stars' esoteric instrumentation melted with deep harmonies, creating an explosive, reverberating fortress of sound.”

Stars is currently on-tour now, so check out their website for dates, news, etc.