Good As Gone
Vizztone Label Group
California’s Casey Hensley started singing when she was five. Considered a child prodigy she grew up listening to Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin. She released her recording debut “Live” featuring guitarist Laura Chavez in 2017. Her drummer was her partner, Evan Caleb Yearsley, and the album was dedicated to his mother Candye Kane. Chavez had also been Kane’s guitarist and the album resulted in Hensley receiving nominations from the San Diego Music Awards; the Blues Blast Awards, and The Independent Blues Awards.
This self-produced follow-up album is Hensley’s first studio recording and re-unites her with co-producer Chavez. The album includes nine Hensley authored originals in a variety of styles ranging from rock’ n roll to blues, soul and swing. The band includes vocalist Hensley; guitarist Chavez; Marcos C. on bass; Yearsley on drums; and the horn section of Jonny Viau and Steven Ebner.
Hensley opens with the rockin’ title track “Good as Gone”. Her vocal power is fully realized on the bluesy “You Should Be So Lucky” with an extended guitar solo. Chavez’s solos on these are demonstrative of her talent and why she is a consecutive two-time Blues Music Award nominee as Best Instrumentalist – Guitar (2019, and again this year).
“If I Pray” is a modern day gospel influenced tune “if I pray hard enough will my hard times go away”. “Be My Baby (What Do You Say)” is a bit of west coast swing and a welcome change in that it might be Hensley’s best vocal, as it displays qualities not heard on the first three songs. The soulful ballad “Love Will Break Your Heart” is another favorite this time featuring the horns and a dramatic solo from Chavez.
“Searching For A Man” is another good vocal from Hensley and a well-written song. Hensley is best when the lyrics allow her to modulate her powerful voice; once again Chavez’ dramatic guitar phrasing is striking. Another rocker “What’s A Woman To Do” features a fabulous horn arrangement and Hensley successfully stretching for the high notes. “Don’t Want It To Stop” is a well written Stax styled song and one of Hensley’s best vocals. The closer “All In” could have been sung by Kane and it’s infectious beat, from Yearsley, allows guitarist Chavez to work out.
Like many who came before her, vocalist Hensley is still maturing, but this is a good studio debut from a promising young artist. I’m looking forward to more.