Ty Causey - Cool In My Skin (2014)

Ty Causey
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When Chris offered Cool In My Skin, Ty Causey’s latest, to me for review, he identified the Fort Wayne native as “the prolific Ty Causey.” That got a chuckle from me, and then I thought about it. Causey has made a lot of music over the last eight or nine years. He’s released seven albums since 2005 by my count, including the new Cool In My Skin. That’s despite the fact that Causey faces the myriad of challenges confronted by artists operating without music label support. Those challenges shut a lot of people down, yet Causey keeps right on chugging.

When Chris offered Cool In My Skin, Ty Causey’s latest, to me for review, he identified the Fort Wayne native as “the prolific Ty Causey.” That got a chuckle from me, and then I thought about it. Causey has made a lot of music over the last eight or nine years. He’s released seven albums since 2005 by my count, including the new Cool In My Skin. That’s despite the fact that Causey faces the myriad of challenges confronted by artists operating without music label support. Those challenges shut a lot of people down, yet Causey keeps right on chugging.

The Ty Causey formula stands as one reason that he’s able to release music at a volume that is near equivalent to an album a year. Causey rarely strays from his smooth brand of romantic R&B. One can argue that last year's The Gospel Truth represented a departure since it was a Christian themed record. But the arrangements on that album were classic Ty Causey, with a warmth and comfort that his many fans have come to cherish. And it is that remarkable consistency that is a special characteristic of Causey. His vocal quality is always top drawer.  And while thematically he continues to explore the contours love and romance, his arrangements remain an amalgam of R&B and jazz with a touch of blues and funk added.

Whatever modifications Causey makes to his style come on the margins in that he constantly refines his craft. Causey has definitely become a more focused songwriter – something that I first noticed on 2010’s Down II Earth.  That trend continues on the solid Cool In My Skin, and can be heard in tracks such as “Love Me That Way,” a number that possesses Causey’s trademark jazz infused smooth R&B. The song’s effectiveness stems from the way Causey crafts it as a conversation from the standpoint of a man trying to discern if his lady is ready to take their relationship to a more serious and substantive level. This comes in the form of a series of questions: “I just want to know the possiblity/Do you understand the love that I really need/Do you want that responsibility/Embracing soul to soul/Facing trouble toe to toe/Can you make this love our reality.”

“The Other Side of Town” is one of several collaborations featured on the album. This one is with contemporary jazz star Najee – who has a long time working relationship with Causey. The set up here finds Causey on one side of town and his baby on the other. That short distance is enough to throw Causey’s vibe off on this fun and funky number that features Najee’s tenor sax offering a nice touch of jazz.

“Paying My Dues” can be viewed as the counterpoint to “Bad Boy,” the upbeat and funky player’s anthem that opens the album. Causey goes into the minor keys on this bluesy number that finds him expressing regret for his many dalliances while also realizing that he might have gone to the “I apologize” well one time too many. “I see vengeance in your eyes/Two wrongs don’t make a right/Who was I fooling?”

Meanwhile, “Good Old Fashioned Love,” has that classic slow jam sound as Causey brings things to the close with a romantic evening for two. The tune strikes a mature balance by being sensual and seductive while also managing to be tasteful. Cool In My Skin is more than an album and song title. It also provides insight into Causey’s approach to his music. Ty Causey is not an artistic angst kind of guy. He’s cool with the type of music he makes and cool with the relationship he’s developed with his fan base. He’s cool in his skin. And we wouldn't have it any other way. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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