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 1998's Morning Tenderness by jazz-pop soprano saxophonist Najee. LoopHoles, an overdue follow up to his debut album Ty, is comprised of nine original sax-laden R&B songs. Causey's 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: Causey's smooth voice and understated keyboard playing and Teague's 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 "It's Crazy" throws a bit of funk into the mix. "Ty's Cloud" is a sweet, yet short, instrumental showcasing Causey's 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 checking out these original soulful R&B songs for themselves.
This review first appeared in WhatzUp, December 2001.