Q&A with California-based singer/songwriter Casey Hensley, her talent and power are taking the music world by storm

"Music unites people of all races, genders, religions… and I want my music to give people whatever they need when they put on my record, If they want to dance, I want them to dance, If they want to cry and let their feelings out I want them to do that. I want it to be whatever they need it to be for them at that moment."

Casey Hensley: Speaks to People's Soul

All over the world people are talking about powerhouse vocalist Casey Hensley. Her talent and power are taking the Blues by storm. Surrounding herself with only the best musicians, and heavily influenced by all of the greats, it is no wonder she has everyone talking. Her self-monikered backing band always includes incredible celebrated guitar slingers such as Anthony Cullins, Laura Chavez, Kid Ramos, Johnny Main, Steve Wilcox, and many more to match her larger than life voice. Drummer Evan Caleb Yearsley (Candye Kane's son), saxophonist Johnny Viau, and bassist Mark C. They are well known for their ability to cross blues subgenres, including jump, swing, and Chicago blues. Once you hear Casey Hensley live you will never forget her. Her talent and power are taking the music world by storm. Surrounding herself with only the best musicians, and heavily influenced by all of the greats, it is no wonder she has everyone talking. Casey and her band are well known for their ability to cross blues subgenres, including jump, swing, and Chicago blues.                      (Casey Hensley / Photo by Nick Abadilla)

Casey released her long-awaited, new album GOOD AS GONE (2020), on this album the world gets to hear the amazing depth and range of her artistry. GOOD AS GONE is Casey’s first all-original studio album, featuring tracks drawing from Rock ’n’ Roll, Blues, Soul, and Swing, all highlighting Casey’s jaw-dropping dynamic vocals along with the perfectly simpatico backup of master guitarist Laura Chavez. Hailed as the Best Blues Act at the 2019 San Diego Music Awards and called a “Rising Star” by the LA Times, Casey is a young woman who does not play by the rules and creates music with 100% Heart. Casey is paving her own way and laying it all out for the world to hear.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

The blues has given me the opportunity to see the world, and the more I see, the more connected I feel to the rest of the world. My career has taken me places I never thought I would go. I am very grateful.

How do you describe your sound, music philosophy, and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

I would describe my sound as a mixture of blues/rock n roll/soul. My creative drive comes from my desire to make something that speaks to people, I want to write music that makes the listener feel something, I love the ability that being a singer and songwriter gives you to connect with people all over the world from all different backgrounds.

Are there any exclusively specific memorable moments with people that you’ve performed with either live or in the studio?

I am very lucky and have had the opportunity to perform with so many incredible musicians. Every time I get to share the stage and record with Laura Chavez it is incredible, I really believe that she brings out the best in me as an artist. I also think back to sharing the stage with Candye Kane, it was such an amazing experience and that memory is so special to me. I also really loved when Tommy Castro called me up on stage and we did a shuffle, and a cover of “Sex Machine,” it was a blast and he is one of the nicest musicians I have ever shared a stage with. Last, and I really could go on and on, one of my most favorite people I ever shared the stage with was Joanna Connor. Her style is incredible! She plays with all her guts, she’s my kind of girl and we just hit it off right away. We have talked since that show about working together on something in the future, I'm going to manifest that and hope it happens. I would absolutely love that!

"I would describe my sound as a mixture of blues/rock n roll/soul. My creative drive comes from my desire to make something that speaks to people, I want to write music that makes the listener feel something, I love the ability that being a singer and songwriter gives you to connect with people all over the world from all different backgrounds." (Casey Hensley / Photo by Nick Abadilla)

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of music?

I miss that music from the past was so real. You could really feel the music, the songs weren’t just thrown together with a formula and a goal to chart, they were written with a deeper intention. My hope for the future of popular music especially, is that we can start getting back to the idea of making music as art, as an extension of ourselves.

What would you say characterizes the California blues scene in comparison to other local US scenes and circuits?

The California blues scene is so cool because California is so big, it’s big enough to be its own country. We really have some of the best players in the world living here of course in Los Angeles you have so many famous musicians from every genre and as far as blues we have Kim Wilson, Laura Chavez, June Core, Kirk Fletcher, Kid Anderson, Aki Kumar, Earl Thomas, Tommy Castro, Chris Cain, Kid Ramos, James Harman… and the list goes on and on. 

What does it mean to be a female artist in a Man’s World as James Brown says? What is the status of women in music?

This is still a male-dominated industry, we are getting better, but we still have a long way to go. There are a lot of double standards for women in this industry. For instance, I sometimes get comments that I sing too loud, I’m too much of a belter or I should sing ”sweeter.” I look up to women like Etta James and Big Mama Thornton and Janis Joplin, women that left their heart out on stage and never held back. I can think of a dozen powerful male vocalists in the blues, and I doubt anyone would even think of saying things like that to them.

"I miss that music from the past was so real. You could really feel the music, the songs weren’t just thrown together with a formula and a goal to chart, they were written with a deeper intention. My hope for the future of popular music especially, is that we can start getting back to the idea of making music as art, as an extension of ourselves." (Casey Hensley / Photo by Nick Abadilla)

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I have learned so much from my experiences in music, probably most importantly, to trust myself, and be confident in my decisions, in who I am, and what I want.

What is the impact of music on the racial and socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Music unites people of all races, genders, religions… and I want my music to give people whatever they need when they put on my record, If they want to dance, I want them to dance, If they want to cry and let their feelings out I want them to do that. I want it to be whatever they need it to be for them at that moment.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

I would want to go back in time and see Aretha Franklin perform. I sadly never got the chance, and she was the greatest vocalist of all time in my opinion.

Casey Hensley - Home

(Casey Hensley / Photo by Nick Abadilla)

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