Looking for the perfect reggae/pop crossover album? Then I’ve a suggestion for you – Cas Haley’s recently released third album La Si Dah. This 13 track album is a bona fide scorcher in terms of soulful, bluesy pop with clear reggae influences.
Cas Haley is a U.S. singer/songwriter based in Texas and has one of the most powerful voices on the U.S. reggae scene. His style is honest, poignant and unpretentious and his music is diverse and easy-going with lots of memorable melodies and hooks. When I played this album for my wife a while ago she immediately started singing along without having heard a single note from the album or Cas Haley before.
La Si Dah was produced by the singer himself with a little help from Grammy-Award winning producer and engineer Rob Fraboni, who has worked with Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Keith Richards and The Rolling Stones. All the instruments and most of the vocals were recorded in the same room at the same time with no isolation and no headphones, which has given the album an intimate and organic atmosphere.
Even though this is far from a conventional reggae album there are at least four songs that can labeled as reggae – the sing-a-long friendly Mama, the breezy Crazy Good Woman, the dubby Slow Down and the nyabinghi-drum inflected Tally Tally.
Included are also a cover of 80’s British pop band The Smiths’ popular How Soon Is Now and three instrumentals leaning heavily towards blues.
The album was financed through crowd-sourcing site PledgeMusic and without Cas Haley’s fans this album might not have seen the day of light, which had would been a real pity. Because as for catchy crossover reggae – this album is as good as it gets.