Orlando Caston shares the three songwriters who’ve guided his artistry

When a musician calls Buddy Holly their “idol,” you know they’re the real deal. Below, Orlando Caston credits him and two others as “extremely influential.”  

It was clear upon the release of Tennessee Whiskey that Orlando Caston wields his pen with incisive finesse. The country single traced the artist’s roots with vivid detail, peppered with evocative imagery and a clear knack for storytelling. 

While Caston is clearly at home on the page, he’s well aware that he stands on the shoulders of giants.

Orlando Caston interview

Fresh off the release of Tennessee Whiskey, the singer-songwriter swings by Happy Mag to sort through the three songwriters most influential on his craft. Catch the full list below, and scroll down to listen to Orland Caston’s latest single. 

G’day, my name is Orlando Caston and I’m a songwriter. My dream is to be heard musically through the lyrics I write and music that I play.

But, along the way I also want to mention my musical inspirations and the people that I believe should continue to be known in the music industry. And so, I would like to talk about 3 artists that are extremely influential on my music and my songwriting.

Orlando Caston interview

Kris Kristofferson

My dream is to be a songwriter and the artist that inspires me a lot lyrically is Kris Kristofferson. He wrote many big songs like Janis Joplin‘s “Me and Bobby McGee”, Ray Price’s “For The Good Times”, and Johnny Cash‘s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down”. 

I had known Kris Kristofferson’s songs for many years before I discovered the songwriter. As I started to listen to songs lyrically and from a songwriting point of view, I discovered that these particular songs were covers and that Kristofferson was the songwriter.

As I learned this I went and listened to more of Kristofferson’s own versions of these songs and also found a bunch of other great songs that he had also written.

What influences me about his songwriting are the lyrics he uses and the way he describes the settings and feelings in his songs.

Lyrics like “Feeling nearly faded as my jeans”, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, “Well I woke Sunday morning, with no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt”.

And even lyrics like “Then I fumbled through my closest for my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt”, and, “And you still can hear me singing to the people who don’t listen to the things that I am saying praying someone’s gonna hear.

And I guess I’ll die explaining how the things that they complain about are things they could be changing, hoping someone’s gonna care.

I was born a lonely singer and I’m bound to die the same, but I’ve gotta feed the hunger in my soul. And if I never have a nickel I won’t ever die ashamed, because I don’t believe that no one wants to know”.

These lyrics are what inspired me to write in more depth and continue to inspire me to write stories within my songs and describe them in such detail. I believe Kris Kristofferson is one of the greatest songwriters and he is one of my biggest influences.

George Young

Secondly, I would like to mention an incredible songwriter and producer, George Young. George Young was first a guitarist and songwriter in the Australian band – The Easybeats.

With them, he wrote songs like “She’s So Fine”, with Easybeats singer Stevie Wright, and “Friday On My Mind” and “Good Times” with Easybeats lead guitarist Harry Vanda.

He then continued to work with Harry Vanda to write and produce songs as a team where they wrote Stevie Wright’s “Evie” and John Paul Young’s “Love Is In The Air”, to mention only 2, while producing many Australian artists.

George Young is a very big influence on me as he stood for what he believed, for who he was, and for what he wanted to do.

He inspired me to continue wanting to be a rhythm guitarist and, in many cases, I adopt his style of rhythm guitar playing by adding in muted strings to hear the feedback of the guitar which can be heard significantly in The Easybeats song “Sorry”.

I love adding this style into my guitar playing especially since I perform with just a guitar and no backing track or drums, and I have George Young to thank for some of the guitar sound that I have.

George Young also inspired me to want to be a songwriter of many genres. With songwriting partner Harry Vanda, he wrote many songs that range in genres and, from this, I discovered the freedom of not forcing myself to write in a particular style.

And that builds my dream to want to work with other artists and for them to sing the songs that would much more suit them than me. Finally, George Young is an inspiration to me as I continue to learn how to produce music.

His way of producing has taught me how important it is to capture the raw, authentic sound of an artist and let that shine without trying to polish it and ruin what was there originally. He has inspired me to want to produce other musicians.

Buddy Holly

The third musician that I would like to talk about is my biggest inspiration in every aspect of music and my favourite artist. His name is Buddy Holly.

He was a rock n roll singer from the mid to late 1950s and wrote and performed songs such as “That’ll Be The Day”, “Peggy Sue”, “Not Fade Away”, “Well All Right”, and “True Love Ways”.

He set many standards in rock n roll and is considered a pioneer in rock music. I grew up listening to many musicians and Buddy Holly is one of the earliest memories that I have of listening to and enjoying music.

His songs created my love for rock n roll, for playing guitar, for songwriting, for producing, for singing, and for music in general. He has influenced and inspired me in so many ways, especially to produce and play my music, my way.

And to go out and follow my dream. He wrote many of his own songs which was rare for rock n roll performers of the time and, as I started getting song ideas, that inspired me to actually want to write my own music. He was a rhythm guitarist and so I wanted to play rhythm guitar.

He produced some of his own music and was aspiring to be a producer for others, and so I was inspired to try producing and learned different techniques which he used like over-dubbing/ double-tracking.

His vocal ability and his ‘hiccup’ way of extending words made me want to sing and try to imitate his style sometimes throughout my singing… although I’m not the vocalist that he was.

And his genre started my love for 50s rock n roll music and my passion to write rock n roll songs.

Everything about Buddy Holly influences and inspires me, and I look to him as my ‘idol’ and the person that I think of in every decision of my music. Without Buddy Holly, there would be no Orlando Caston… simple as that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these 3 artists and how they have influenced and inspired me, and I hope that you will go and discover Kris Kristofferson, George Young, and Buddy Holly for yourself.