California-based country singer-songwriter Casey Ahern has just released a brand new single, "Bradley," and the song, at first listen, seems to be a love song about a guy, but first impressions can be deceiving. As Ahern explains, the song is actually a love song to the town and the ranch where she grew up. Dusty and heartful, the song oozes Ahern's affection for the place in every note. Her voice twists and soars over twangy guitars, pulling us in and making every listener long for their own place of the heart. Roughstock sat down with Ahern recently to talk about "Bradley" and her music, and to get the scoop on what's up next for this exciting talent.
Roughstock: Hi Casey! Thanks for joining us today. We love your new song, "Bradley." What is the story behind this song? Why did you write it?
Casey: Thank you! Well at first listen, it seems to be about a guy. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Growing up, our ranch in Bradley, CA has always been the one place where I feel like when I’m there, I don’t have to run. That I am completely in love with where I’m at. So I decided to write a song about how much the ranch means to me, and what better way to express that than with a love song for it.
Roughstock: What kind of a vibe were you going for on this song when you recorded it? Do you think you ended up with a song that sounds like you expected it to sound? If so, how so, and if not, what's different about it?
Casey: I recorded “Bradley” at Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville with Nathan Meckel and Mark Niemiec, as well as several other extremely talented musicians, so I think everyone’s own unique ears and playing styles mixed together to create a really beautiful track. We all knew I wanted it to be a country love song that sounded organic and as if we were playing it live. As far as expectations, I think the guys knocked it out of the park!
Roughstock: How does "Bradley" fit into the overall vibe and themes on your forthcoming record?
Casey: The title of my upcoming EP, Where I Run, is actually a lyric taken from the “Bradley” song: “to your arms is where I run.” Each song off of the EP has some sort of running action in it, whether it be to or from a place, person, or idea. “Bradley” is escaping to the place I love, and its “arms” being inside the property lines of the ranch.
Roughstock: Was this a music-first or a lyrics-first song for you? Which way do you tend to write in general, music or lyrics first?
Casey: “Bradley” hit me first with the chorus lyrics and melody at the same time, which seems to be my common way of writing. Usually it’s some sort of rough melody and lyrics while I’m driving because that’s how I clear my mind. And that’s exactly where “Bradley” sparked. One day, back in Los Angeles, I was driving and really missing the ranch, so I started to sing about it and record voice memo ideas on my phone. I just took memories of key aspects of the ranch and personified them; for example, “I get lost on the roads inside your eyes.”
Roughstock: You have a cohesion to your sound that is so organic -- you mentioned that word earlier -- and natural, almost folk in nature. How did you settle upon the Casey Ahern "sound"? For the Roughstock readers who are just meeting you for the first time now, how do you describe your music to people who haven't heard it before?
Casey: I grew up listening a lot to the '70s Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell, the Eagles, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. So I that’s where the lyric-focused, folk sound stems from. My dad is a big Glen Campbell fan, and that began my love for country music, finding newer artists such as Rascal Flatts and Sugarland on my own. When describing my own music and sound, I’d say think '70s Laurel Canyon meets Nashville country music, with a story-based focus.
Roughstock: How have you been connecting with fans during the pandemic?
Casey: Over the course of 2020, I kept engaged with fans mainly over social media and by regularly doing livestreams on Sessions Live, which is a livestream platform. I’ve never been a huge fan of social media, as I prefer to play live shows and connect with people in-person, but, in a way, it’s allowed me to connect with fans who would regularly not be able to make my live shows due to location.
Roughstock: What's up next for you?
Casey: After “Bradley,” we’re looking at probably releasing another single off the Where I Run EP that we will take to radio, which is incredibly exciting! Following that up, will be the full EP release and then back into the studio to record brand new music!