“This second album by the acclaimed indie-folk singer Steph Casey confirms a strong and unique talent.”
– Graham Reid
“Gorgeous arrangement with golden melodious vocals. Her vocal clarity and heartfelt lyrics complement each other flawlessly. 5 / 5 stars.”
“Voice-wise, her dulcet tones resemble those of Joy Williams of The Civil Wars”
– Rob Weir, Principal Music Writer SingOut! Magazine, USA
“The delicate guitar work and engaging vocal tone mesh beautifully, creating magic”
– Independent Clauses
REVIEWS FOR “THE SEATS IN MY CAR”
Recorded at Lee Prebble’s Surgery in Wellington and backed by the likes of Caroline Easther, Allan Galloway, Murray Costello and others with impeccable pedigree, this second album by the acclaimed indie-folk singer Steph Casey – whose debut Whisper & Holler went top five here at home and got favourable notices internationally – confirms a strong and unique talent. After the opener At a Bar Downtown – less a fully formed song than a musically embellished reflection – this hits a sharp stride with the downbeat alt.country-cum-cabaret ballad The Tale of Hannah Mae (with woozy trumpet and keening guitar). Then it is down into an aching but crisply realised Old Love which yearns with lyricism over a simple acoustic guitar and shuddering electric passages. The lovely Hold On has one of those simple, cleverly constructed and sublime pop-folk melodies which really grips, but with subtlety. This is a short album – just seven songs, one a dark prog-folk instrumental – but it packs in a lot of information.
– GRAHAM REID
Steph Casey, the Kapiti Coast-based songwriter and musician has just released her exceptional sophomore album, The Seats In My Car, which is a captivating mix of acoustic guitar and honeyed vocals, backed by an impressive line-up of musicians. Her sound is described as a mix of indie-folk and alt-country. This is an album of beauty. Gorgeous arrangement and tone with golden melodious vocals and heart-warming lyrics. Each one of the seven tracks is a cleverly crafted delight. It is easy to see why her debut album Whisper & Holler went straight to number four in the NZIM Album Charts. Steph Casey already has an admirable list of achievements under her belt. Whisper & Holler gained her glowing international reviews which lead to an invitation to the USA to record her second album with producer Jason Rubal (Robert Smith [The Cure], Amanda Palmer). She has an impressive international following on the popular streaming platform SoundCloud. Her first single from her second studio album, is At A Bar Downtown. This is accompanied by a visually creative (yet beautiful in its simplicity) music video. From the first strum of her guitar I could tell this was going to be a special album. Steph offers up glorious vocal melodies from the get-go. The second track Hannah Mae was my favourite. This track had the gritty storytelling qualities which are favoured by country artists. It is completely engaging and flowed beautifully. This is the kind of song you can’t help but sway along to. Moving on to the title track, The Seats In My Car her songwriting style and vocalisation continues to enthrall. The backing from the band which accompanies Steph on this album is comprised of talents such as three principal members of indie-pop band Let’s Planet – Caroline Easther (The Chills, The Verlaines, Beat Rhythm Fashion) on drums, Alan Galloway (Let’s Planet, Galloway) on electric guitars, and Murray Costello (The Mockers, The Wooden Box Band) on bass. Adding to this impressive mix are also contributions from Alan Norman (The Warratahs, Rag Poets) on accordion and hammond organ, backing vocals by Wellington singer-songwriter Hanne Jostensen, with Emily Clemmet (The Wooden Box Band, Ska Pai) on trumpet. This is an album of sublime layers; Casey’s luminescence continues to shine through nailing the Americana sound which The Seats In My Car offers up. Her vocal clarity and heartfelt lyrics complement each other flawlessly. Delightful from start to finish.
Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
(Review of the single “At a Bar Downtown”). Here’s some really great storytelling in an easygoing indie-folk track. The arrangement is rock-solid, Casey’s vocals soar, and the whole piece comes together beautifully.
– INDEPENDENT CLAUSES, USA
REVIEWS FOR “WHISPER & HOLLER”
STEPH CASEY’S LUMINOUS DEBUT. Steph Casey is a Wellington, New Zealand-based singer/songwriter, though one quickly hears that her muses have spent considerable time across the pond in the United States. Among the influences she cites–and which you’ll hear on her debut record–are Gillian Welch, The Be Good Tanyas, and Lucinda Williams. Voice-wise, her dulcet tones resemble those of Joy Williams of The Civil Wars, another inspiration. One of my favorites is “Thievery,” a no-punches-pulled song of longing. Another is “Heavy Warm Heart,” an off-kilter little number heavy on the first beats, in which Casey lets her light voice bounce off and between picked acoustic guitar notes whilst viola and cello add sonorous depth. This is a solid debut, no matter how long it took to arrive.
– ROB WEIR Principal Music Writer for SingOut! Magazine, USA’s oldest folk music publication.
The best moments of singer/songwriter Steph Casey‘s Whisper and Holler fall on the “whisper” side of that equation: when Casey’s songs are stripped down to sparse acoustic guitar and voice, her work shines. “Heavy Warm Heart” and the title track are lent an immediacy by their simplicity, as it feels like Casey had the melodies burning a hole in her pocket and just had to get them out there. The delicate guitar work and engaging vocal tone mesh beautifully, creating magic. These tunes fall right in line with the ethos that characterizes the highlights: take one thing and do it well.
– INDEPENDENT CLAUSES, USA
After listening numerous times to the indie-folk album “Whisper & Holler” I have become somewhat addicted and under the spell of the startling debut of Steph Casey, and ask myself under which New Zealand stone has she kept herself hidden until now. Those who are familiar with the music of Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch and Over the Rhine will immediately be comfortable with this vocalist, with her ingenious and emotional songs full of love and pain, as the central focus. Casey’s soulful opening number Nice To Almost Know You begins with a lone acoustic guitar which is then complimented by her voice, and gradually builds to a full sound with the whole band, yet retains its grass-roots raw feel. This is in fact the case for the whole album: strong builds – modest and unforced. This is music at the highest level. An album of thirteen original tracks which after a few listens will make you feel at home wherever you may be.
– ALT COUNTRY FORUM, The Netherlands