Fort Wayne native Ty Causey has been causing a bit of a stir in certain R&B circles, receiving very favorable reviews for his vocals and co-writing on 1998s Morning Tenderness by jazz-pop soprano saxophonist Najee. LoopHoles, an overdue followup to his debut album, Ty, is comprised of nine original sax-laden R&B songs. Causeys rich, buttery voice has been compared to that of the legendary Donny Hathaway and his skills as a keyboardist are formidable. Soulful saxophone is present on nearly every track, compliments of Zedric Z Teague, providing a nice acoustic contrast to the otherwise synthesized arrangements.
The album kicks off with Your Luv, instantly introducing the listener to the main elements of each song: Causeys smooth voice and understated keyboard playing and Teagues soaring saxophone, all set against a slow R&B drum beat. No More continues with the standard 1975-era R&B love song lyrics with lines such as No more lonely nights cause I am here / No more empty heart to fill. A nice combination of vibes and electric piano round of The Love Of My Life, and the upbeat Its Crazy throws a bit of funk into the mix. Tys Cloud is a sweet, yet short, instrumental showcasing Causeys skills as a keyboardist. The final track is another version of Your Luv but this time marked as A Capella, yet in a creative twist, an a capella with instruments.
All in all, LoopHoles is a fine collection of original R&B love songs. One irk, however: for all the effort Causey put into writing and arranging these songs, surely he had more than one drum kit on his drum machine. On the third track I noticed a bell-like sound, possibly a synthetic ride symbol that is featured on every track. Once noticed, my compulsive nature refused to let this go, and near the end of the album it was all I could hear,
distracting my attention woefully from the melodies and musicianship. Still, true R&B fans should not let my strange, obsessive hang ups deter them from going to their neighborhood Wooden Nickel and treating themselves to a truly fine R&B disc.
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July 21 • Sweetwater Performace Pavilion