Caleb Caudle and the dusty stomp of modern-day Americana
WANNA go? Caleb Caudle plays the Living Room Concert Series at The Cox Capitol Theatre Thursday, Sept. 29. Doors at 7, show at 8. Tickets $10 in advance. $15 at the door.
Following in the tracks of Gram Parsons, Merle Haggard and George Strait, Caleb Caudle makes pure country music rooted in the genre’s glory days, back when melody, mood and message ruled the roost. It’s not contemporary country-pop, nor is it part of any underground outlaw scene. Instead, Caudle’s music finds the middle ground between the classic twang of late-seventies/early-eighties country and the dusty stomp of modern-day Americana. Raised just south of the Virginia/North Carolina border, Caudle cut his teeth on the road, building his audience one mile at a time while sharing the stage with the likes of Jason Isbell, Dawes, Robert Ellis, Patterson Hood, Justin Townes Earle, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and John Moreland, among many others. Brad Evans caught up with Caleb at his home in North Carolina.
Hey Caleb. Man I can’t say enough about Carolina Ghost. We are loving the album here at 100.9 The Creek. Can you tell me a little about how you approached writing it? Well I approached it pretty much the same as I approach any album. Once an album is done, I usually try to not write for a couple of months, let new influences seep in, and try and find new ways to say things. As that time goes by, I causally write stuff down when it comes to me. Which is usually when I’m driving, actually. This seems to work for me.
And you were in a new place in your life as well. Becoming sober? Sure. Well I’d also just moved back home to North Carolina, and yes, I quit drinking, and that kind of thing changes you. I was just in a really creative place. I was writing a bunch, and I feel like I was in a really clear headed place. This was probably the most country sounding record I will ever make. This was deliberate. I felt like these songs deserved this kind of treatment.
Don’t you feel like people are kind of ready for a more down to earth kind of music. I know at the station when we came out of the gate playing more songwriter based stuff, listeners came out of the woodwork. Yeah. I mean it’s hard to tell, because I’m so inside of it all. But the crowds have certainly been bigger, and maybe they are thirsty for it. And you’re right, you aren’t going to hear it much on the radio, so for you guys to be playing it, we certainly appreciate it. I think the radio playing our music is the missing link. So people are coming to the smaller clubs, seeking it out. Trying to connect. That’s all people are really trying to do.
Also read the Bitter Southerner piece on you today. Wow. The writer actually was talking about John Moreland, he called him, “a volcanically emotional songwriter who can hush a bar full of frat douches with one devastatingly bereft chorus”. Yeah, that was great. You know we mostly spend time together as we tour together. I live in North Carolina and John is in Oklahoma. It’s just one of those things, when you have a songwriting buddy, you just always pick up where you left off.
Who, besides John, do you look to when you need some inspiration in your songwriting? That’s hard. Aaron Lee Tasjan, Aaron Ray is great. It’s hard. I’m living in Jazz land right now. I’m listening to a lot of 50’s and 60’s Jazz right now. That’s just where my head is at.
What’s next for you? What you been up to writing wise? I’ve been doing a lot of demos. I have more than enough for a record. I think it’s going to be somewhat of a different beast than the last record. It’s a big musical beast. I don’t know how to describe it. I had been wanting to do a great country album, and I really believed we knocked it out of the park with this last one. But the new one will be something different. And I’m looking forward to that.