I met an interesting man the other day. Electronics guy. Inventor. But also a singer-songwriter who goes by the mysterious handle Casinato.
I think what drew me to these songs is the raw, folky quality of Casinato’s voice. Dulcet tones? Not on your life; nor does he aspire to producing anything near dulcet. His voice and style are reminiscent of the early folk-revival luminaries. Dave Van Ronk comes to mind, along with people like Tom Paxton and Phil Ochs. There might be a smidge of Dylan in there; just a smidge. It’s a gritty voice, not a pretty voice. Raw, rough, a little dissonant — and likeable for precisely that reason.
I’ve also always been a sucker for singers who compose their own songs, as he does. (Even when he begins with a traditional like “Wild Mountain Thyme” he changes the lyrics and takes it in his own direction.) Here’s a guy who writes the music and lyrics, sings, and plays the instruments, too. I’m impressed. Here’s one of my favorites on YouTube. The video is also raw. Amateur work, but cleverly envisioned.
The one thing I wish he didn’t do for himself is produce. The great weakness of these songs is the mix. One acquaintance said Casinato’s voice was too loud for the music. My reaction is that the music is too loud for the voice. Bottom line is that music and voice clash. I would love to hear these songs more professionally produced. As it happens, we have a local guy who’s been shortlisted for the Grammys, is both a performer and a producer, and I’ll bet he could work magic with this material.
Casinato did a very great favor for me and I told him I’d post about his music — and also told him that I don’t have much influence where musical matters are concerned. He seemed to be okay with that (and like me, he’s uncomfortable about promoting himself; he’d rather be doing than polishing his image in the mirror). I wish I could do more. I also wish he’d take those intriguing songs and that attractively rough voice to someone who could make the best of them.