What does it sound like? There are some things that hold constant over Casey’s entire output: the introspective-with-bright-flashes-of-humor lyrics, the intuitive sensitivity to dynamics, the catchy-enough-to-sing-along choruses that beg you to participate, the home-recording ethic. But with this project Casey has started to do things I haven’t heard him do before: a few Roy Orbison-style love ballads, sunny California harmonies, and delicate instrumental lines and chord progressions. The guitar is the central instrument, so everything works for the solo shows, but the sound gets fleshed out in the recordings by keyboards and tambourines and the occasional violin, depending on what the song requires. <br /><br />And I think I can shed some light on why Casey writes these songs. One time when we were driving south from Washington DC back to North Carolina, Casey explained to me why Roy Orbison’s version of “Love Hurts” is better than any other version he’s heard. There’s this one line — “love is like a stove / burns you when it’s hot” — that some covers omit. Even good covers, like the one by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, tend to make love’s hurt sound like something that’s good in the long run, but not Roy. When Orbison sings about getting burned, he means that love actually hurts. Badly. It’s not a no-pain-no-gain kind of thing, it’s just hurt. Some of us know this from experience. Of course, Roy Orbison also sang “Running Scared,” so he knew that love is good even as love hurts, and these parts of love can be separate or they can be mixed, and that these are truths that can be hard to sing without being sentimental. These are the kinds of truths that Hi Ho Silver Oh wants to get across, and to get them across in a way that we can sing them together and maybe be somehow better for it. Or at least, that’s my take on it.