Pop musician Casey Stratton comes highly recommended from former Savage Garden front-man Darren Hayes. Hayes posted a link to Stratton’s recently released (May 16, 2012) album The Calling of the Crows on Facebook last week, and I was intrigued when he mentioned that Stratton’s voice has often been compared to his own. They also share many of the same musical influences. As a decades-long Hayes fan, this peaked my interest. I headed over to Stratton’s page to sample the album. I liked it so much that I immediately purchased it.
Stratton has been involved in music in one way or another since he was a tiny tot. He was eventually signed to Sony, but became an indie musician in 2004 when he was told that big labels were not a “good fit” for him. I agree. While I would normally say music like Stratton’s is “radio-friendly”, I believe Stratton to be one of those artists that you hear on mainstream radio and your stomach sinks, like if the alternative band Green Day was on WALK 97.5. Stratton is too good for radio.
While I can certainly see why some would compare him to Hayes (particularly on the tracks “Wanderlust” and “When the Fates Came”), and other such artists as Loreena McKennitt, Peter Gabriel and Tori Amos, Stratton has a voice that is all his own. “Ghosts in the Walls” particularly appealed to me, as the instrumentals are deliciously dark and its poignant lyrics echo sentiments of insecurity and fear. I can safely say that at first listen, “Ghosts” is my favorite track on the album.
What is most impressive about the record is that each track has a significantly different sound than the rest. I thought at first that perhaps I had downloaded a compilation instead of an album. This means that there is surely something here for everyone, from light piano music to a more contemporary feel. Songs like “Elegy” and “Wait By the Water” have that Celtic overtone that you would find on a Lord of the Rings soundtrack. A majority of Stratton’s work sounds like New Age music set to lyrics.
The Calling of the Crows is emotionally charged and carries with it a sad beauty that can be especially enjoyed during moments when you just want to be alone. This is the type of music that requires a quiet surrounding in which you appreciate every nuance, be it the tinkling of the piano or the tapping of the tambourine.
You can purchase The Calling of the Crows here. Stratton has an extensive selection of material available for purchase, so if you enjoy this album, consider checking out The Parting Glass, When the Fates Came EP, or another of his many collections found at his digital music store.