Tag Archives: Crossover reggae

Cas Haley makes excellent crossover reggae on La Si Dah

es-1038cover1500x1500Looking 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.

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Gyptian delivers a crossover album

Gyptian has probably scored the biggest reggae crossover tune in recent years. His smash hit Hold You has been on Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Chart as well as topping the Reggae Digital Songs chart for nine consecutive weeks.

His newly gained popularity also got him to join forces with Distant Relatives Nas & Damian Marley on tour this summer.

On top of all of this he drops his third album titled after his hit single.

Hold You – the album – will probably gain him further crossover success. This is basically a pop album with elements of reggae and contemporary R&B and dancehall, mostly electronic.

Gyptian and his producers are big fans of auto-tune, an audio processor whose main use is to correct pitch in vocal and instrumental performances. Here it’s used to distort the voice, which in many cases ruins the singer’s performance.

Gyptian can sing and doesn’t need auto-tune. However, I have a hard time coping with his voice. It’s nasal, hissing and too frail for my taste. Sometimes he sounds off key, when he’s actually not.

In the songs where Gyptian uses his voice from the chest it certainly sounds better, for instance the smooth lovers tune Rendezvous or the up-tempo Leave Us Alone on the Mad Mad rhythm, probably best know for Diseases by Michigan & Smiley.

He has been labeled as the “sexy rasta” and lyrics-wise this is a lovers rock album. In most songs he shows his love of women. But I want my lovers rock a bit more classic than this and instead I’ll listen to Romain Virgo or Sanchez. Those guys know lovers rock.

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