Wednesday, December 24, 2008

#16 - Holidays, Holidays and More Holidays

A special edition of the Casey Stratton Podcast to celebrate the holidays! Features a recording of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing with my friends Carnie and Wendy Wilson as well as live performances of a never released song Say Hello To Winter, Song For a Winter's Night and River. Happy Holidays to everyone!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

#15 - Studios, Pianos and Donuts

In this episode of the Casey Stratton Podcast I discuss the recording process of Standing at the Edge including playing a recording of the early demo of Hollow that was done at Patrick Leonard's home studio. I then perform Witches from Whirlwind Medusa. Music Rec this time is.....wait for it...ME! Pick up last year's holiday record Icicles or any of the holiday collections, or get them all in the Complete Collection at! Plugging the holidays. You betcha!®Sarah Palin

"Icicles" is Casey's 5th holiday effort recorded in 2007 and includes favorites such as "Away in a Manger" and "Joy to the World" while also incorporating classical pieces and 5 original songs by Casey.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

#14 - Signing, Producers and Tori Stories

In this episode of the Casey Stratton Podcast I talk more about signing to Sony, the producer search for Standing at the Edge and the process of ultimately landing Patrick Leonard. I then answer a question about Tori Amos and my own work and go on to perform a cover of Tori's Doughnut Song from her 1996 album Boys For Pele. Music Rec this time is Sarah Fimm's Nexus.

How refreshing it is to hear an unsigned artist that can create a sound so unlike the radio trash forced upon us. Sara reminds us that the mass media rulers aren't always in control of an artists creativity!
Sara reminds one of Tori Amos due to the piano content, but her lyrics may bring on visions of an angry (or deeply moody) Sarah McLachlan. But her sound is truly her own. One who has heard her haunting voice in "Red Paper Bag" once will be able to pick her out on the radio in seconds flat. Don't let this one pass you by. Try her now. - Amazon review

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

#13 - Chicago to NYC, Naming Names and The Darkest World

In this episode of the Casey Stratton Podcast I answer a question about recording, talk about the move from Chicago to New York as well as the record company meetings that eventually led to the Sony contract...naming names in the process. I then talk about the new EP, The Darkest World and perform Released from said EP. Music recommendation this week is Snow Patrol: A Hundred Million Suns.

On the surface, A Hundred Million Suns seems to suggest, nothing especially new: producer Jacknife Lee, who first worked with the band on 2003's Final Straw and went on to work with the likes of U2 and REM returns to the fold; and an opening brace of songs suggest that a successful formula--chiming guitars, gentle builds, and Gary Lightbody's quavering, tremulous vocal--persists. Still, “Take Back The City", a windswept, electronic-tinged rocker, rather does for this band what “Dakota" did for Stereophonics, proving that a spot of sleek, synthetic motorik is not beyond their grasp, and there's a new, bright optimism to Lightbody's lyrics that sets the likes of “The Planets Bend Between Us" in light relief to some of Snow Patrol's earlier work. If you want experiments, though, you'll have to wait until the closing “The Lightning Strike", a 16-minute track in three parts that investigates Phillip Glass-style minimalism and electronic beats with some aptitude. --Louis Pattison

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

#12 - Choices, Priorities and Giving Up the Fight

In this edition of the Casey Stratton Podcast I talk about last night's election, why songs were edited and lyrics rewritten for Standing at the Edge and talk more about leaving LA for Chicago and what went through my mind during those years. I then performed Phoenix from The Winter Children. Music Recommendation this time is Ray LaMontagne's Till the Sun Turns Black.

Till the Sun Turns Black finds the introspective singer/songwriter complementing his folk-country ways with traces of strings and horns and spooky soulful background voices. Songs like "You Can Bring Me Flowers" and "Three More Days" are the most R&B-influenced, the latter shuffling about ala The Band or Tony Joe White. Despite its brooding lyrics, "Empty" has a rollicking, almost breezy delivery, a perfect balance to either the hushed title track, the unnerving "Be Here Now" or the horn-fortified waltz, "Gone Away From Me." Throughout the 11-song sequence, and especially on the final song "Within You," LaMontagne’s voice remains the record’s most crucial element, as vibrant as it is tattered and as harsh as it is flawless. --Scott Holter

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

#11 - Internet Vitriol, The Winter Children and Taking Breaks

In this edition of the Casey Stratton Podcast I talk about how I feel when I read negative comments about myself online, then begin discussing the process of writing The Winter Children including my move to Chicago and decision to take a break from the music industry. I then perform a never before recorded or (therefore) released song called Sleep, My Little One from The Winter Children time period. Music rec this time is Loreena McKennitt's new holiday release A Midwinter Night's Dream.

On her first full-length holiday album, Loreena celebrates the season with a CD that blends the five songs from A Winter Garden (1995) with eight new recordings inspired by seasonal favorites. 13 tracks including 'The Holly & The Ivy', 'Good King Wenceslas', 'Seeds Of Love', 'Coventry Carol' and more.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

#10 - Voting, the Value of Music and More Signs of Life

In this edition of the Casey Stratton Podcast I talk about the importance of registering to vote this week. I also answer a question about what film I would re-score if I could as well as discussing my feelings on the devaluation of music and what that means for me as a composer, both financially and in terms of informing my future decisions as a musician. I talk a little more about Signs of Life before performing Not the Garden. Music recommendation this time is Tori Amos' Live in Montreux CD and DVD.

These two concerts from Montreux in 1991 and 1992 catch Tori Amos right at the start of her solo career. The first, from July 1991, was filmed a few months before the release of her "Little Earthquakes" album and the second from July 1992 followed a few months after. There is a fascinating progression from one year to the next as she grows in confidence and skill as a live performer, buoyed by the critical and commercial success of the album. Naturally most of the songs are taken from "Little Earthquakes" but there are also rare songs from her various EPs released across the two years which didn't make it onto the album including her distinctive takes on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" and "Thank You" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit".

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

#9 - Signs of Life, Signs of Life and Signs of Life

In this edition of the Casey Stratton Podcast I answer a few questions and then talk about the new album, Signs of Life before performing both Looks Like Rain and Now It's Gone from said record. Music recommendation is Kate Bush's Aerial.

It's the second disc--a suite called A Sky of Honey--on which Bush really comes into her own. Using metaphors of the turning of the day and the flight of birds, she orchestrates a meditation on the cycles of life. Musically expansive, she weaves her compositions out of birdsong, subtle orchestrations, and jazz trios, showing herself at her experimental best. Embracing her relatively new motherhood, as well as the death of her mother, Aerial is a deeply personal album, and a welcome return from one of pop music's true icons and vocal wonders. --John Diliberto

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

#8 - More Whirlwind, Doris Lessing, Industry Woes and such.

In this edition of the Casey Stratton Podcast I answer questions about the influence of the seasons on my work and the influence of author Doris Lessing's work on my own. I then discuss more about the Whirlwind Medusa period including my first dealings with the Sony Corporation which leads to more discussions about the record industry and masculinity, or lack thereof, in male solo artists. I then play a cassette recording of a song called Home recorded during the Whirlwind Medusa sessions that was never burned to CD. Music Recommendation this week is The Sundays 1992 album Blind.

Building on the jangly guitar pop of the Smiths and the trance-like dream pop of bands like the Cocteau Twins, the Sundays cultivated a dedicated following in indie rock circles, both in their native England and in America, in the early '90s. Although the sales of their first two albums were strong, the band never crossed over into the mainstream, as so many observers and critics predicted they would.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

#7 - Interlochen Arts Academy, Old recordings and such

In this podcast I talk about visiting Interlochen Center for the Arts last weekend, attending Interlochen in the 90s and play an old recording of a song called Angel Here, a solo performed in a choir concert and perform the song Center written during that time. Music Recommendation this week is Sarah McLachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy Legacy Edition.

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (Legacy Edition) is a three disc re-release of McLachlan's 1993 album of the same title; her 1995 live recording, Freedom Sessions; and a DVD of a live show filmed in 1994.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

#6 - Whirlwind Medusa, Classical recordings and more

In this episode of the Casey Stratton Podcast I discuss recording Whirlwind Medusa and also talk about recording classical pieces. Within the scope of discussing Whirlwind I also talk in length about my publishing contract with Rondor Music International. I finish up with a live performance of The Path. Music recommendation for this week is Jonatha Brooke's 10 Cent Wings.

...her followup solo effort, 10 Cent Wings, is filled with the sort of sly phrases and lush pop arrangements that made the Story so enjoyable. At times Brooke stretches her literary conceits too far, but her keyboardist/producer/arranger/husband Alain Mallet always wraps her appealing melodies in quirky, thickened chamber-pop arrangements. On the best songs--most notably "Glass Half Empty" and "Last Innocent Year"--Brooke has recovered the momentum of a most promising career. --Geoffrey Hime

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

#5 - Documentary, Lily Sleeps and 2 Live Performances

In this week's Podcast I talk about the documentary Turning Static Into Sound, the process of recording Lily Sleeps including my semi-meltdown and perform both Dog's Mercury and Only a Handgun from that record. I forgot tons of words to Only a Handgun but life happens. Music recommendation this week is Trespassers William. I should point out that in the Podcast I say they are on Nettwerk Records but it turns out that since I last checked up on them they have left the label. That's why I should always remember to do some current research before Podcasting!

Formed in 1997, Trespassers William have released three albums. Anchor (1999) appeared on Sonikwire Records and is now out of print. Different Stars surfaced as a self-release in 2002 and was re-released twice—most recently on Nettwerk Records on October 19, 2004. In early 2004, the band relocated from Southern California to Seattle, WA. Their latest album, Having, was released February 28, 2006. The band's music has received modest press coverage and exposure, most notably in the television shows The O.C. and One Tree Hill.

Listen to Casey Stratton Podcast #5

Thursday, July 10, 2008

#4 - Questions, Answers and Performance of an Unreleased Song

In this installment of the Casey Stratton Podcast I discuss regrets, relationships, and the early LA years recording Driving to the Moon and The Giver and the Grave Digger. This week's performance is of a song from that time that was not recorded (until 1998 but it remains unreleased) called The Life Went Spinning. Talk even turns to Ramen noodles. Riveting stuff. Music recommendation this week is Kendall Payne's Paper Skin.

After carving a critically acclaimed but under-selling niche for herself on acoustic guitar, Kendall Payne received the gift of a piano from her new husband, and tapped into rich new expressions of creativity. With more of a stripped down vibe than earlier projects, Paper Skin retains the intense passion and reflective power we’ve always appreciated in Payne. Skin thoughtfully examines issues of trust, relationships, and pain, always with a deep honesty overlooking none of life’s complexities. - Kevan Breitinger

Listen to Casey Stratton Podcast #4

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

#3 - Wounded Premiere, Independence Day and Moving to Los Angeles

In this edition I answer a few more questions, particularly about touring, premiere (FINALLY) the song Wounded that was cut from Standing at the Edge, discuss moving to LA and perform a cover of Ani DiFranco's Independence Day. Music recommendation for this episode if Greg Laswell's How the Day Sounds EP.

Greg Laswell is already a critic's darling, and with the right marketing his second album will give him a proper shove into the mainstream. Through Toledo is an impressive collection of densely lyrical, deeply melodic indie pop that refuses to settle into predictability. Laswell -- on guitar, piano, drums, and production -- is clearly more than just another singer-songwriter.
- Jonathan Zwickel -

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

#2 - Questions, Answers and Spilling the Beans

In this edition of the Casey Stratton Podcast I answer 4 of your questions, perform Pretty Horses from the Limited Edition DIVIDE CD and talk a little about the new album coming in the fall.

Music recommendation this week is the Original Motion Picture Score for Atonement.

The marching click of typewriter keystrokes finds itself right at home amidst ominous piano pieces and symphonic heartbreak in this alternately tragic and lush score. Ironically, Dario Marianelli's compositions shine brightest in the darkest spaces of war; there, sweeping violins evoke the eerie isolation of post-battle carnage and survival. Meanwhile, piano solos by Jean-Yves Thibaudet reek of romantic havoc. The theme throughout is longing, a concept which, in the end, makes Atonement wrenching aural proof that parting is indeed such sweet sorrow.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

#1 - Talking Orbit, Music Recommendations and More!

In the first installment of the Casey Stratton Podcast I talk a little about why I decided to podcast and invite listeners to pose questions to answer in later episodes. I talk about the new record, Orbit, the process of writing and recording it as well as the inspiration behind the album as a whole and for a few specific songs. After that I perform Lay You to Rest live before discussing the MS Walk I participated in recently.

Music Recommendation for Episode 1: Kaiser Cartel - March Forth

"Eclectic, infectious music" are the words Benjamin Cartel uses to describe
s low-tech, song-driven style. "We want people to feel like a fly on the wall in our living room." says Courtney Kaiser. KaiserCartel’s earthy blend of folk-rock and pop will make you laugh, cry, sing along, and want to hold hands with the stranger next to you. Warm up by the fire with KaiserCartel.

Listen to Casey Stratton Podcast #1