In 2012 Caleb Caudle released Tobacco Town, a great collection of songs that caught my attention and that of many others. Following that release, Caudle set out on the road as a full time touring musician. All of that road dogging has had a profound affect on Caudle’s songwriting and it shines through on his sophomore release, Paint Another Layer on My Heart.
Recorded in Caleb’s home state of North Carolina this winter and released earlier this month, Paint Another Layer is a rare record in that it almost renders its predecessor completely unimportant other than being a stepping stone to this one. Caudle has grown leaps and bounds both as a writer and performer in less than two years. This record showcases Caudle’s vocal talents which are really what sets him apart from most writers in the Americana vein. He has enough southern grit hiding behind an extremely soulful tone to keep it from getting too sugary, in a way it reminds of the way I feel when listening to one of Van Morrison’s great early 70’s records. As for the backing band on this album, Caudle really set out to exceed expectations, bringing in such notables as Whit Wright (American Aquarium) on pedal steel and Lydia Loveless who kills the harmony vocals on quite a few tracks, especially the first single off the album, “Trade All The Lights”.
Lyrically Caleb lets the trials and tribulations of being on the road seep into nearly every track on the album. Teamed with the inevitable longing for those he loves and a passion for his new home New Orleans it makes for an emotional travelogue that any fan can really appreciate. Caleb’s strongest lyrics come in the form of immediately catchy hooks that have a way of burrowing into the deepest part of your mind and soul demanding you turn the stereo up and sing along regardless of your own vocal talent. The aforementioned, “Trade All The Lights” is a perfect example of this, with he and Loveless really hammering home the desire to return to New Orleans and spend the night with someone who is missing him just as much as he is them.
On “Countdown” Caudle puts into song a trick we have all employed when trying to get fight through extreme sleepiness and get to our destination, singing “I”m counting county lines, I can see my breath tonight, I keep the heat off, radio up and I sing to every line.” He ends the chorus by explaining the rewards of such a struggle, “Let the countdown begin, I know how it ends, I lose this heartbreak.” I believe my favorite song on the record is “Miss You Like Crazy” a song with a title tells the whole story, and really showcases that soul that I mentioned before, with Caudle drawing out the last word with a sweetness and power that leaves the listener undeniably convinced that no matter what they go through Caudle will always be drawn back to the woman in the song. He sings, “We fight like my grandfolks John and Rose, but if the Lord takes you first he’d better take us both, cuz I miss you like crazy”.
I could easily go into praise for every track on the record, because Paint Another Layer on My Heart hasn’t left the rotation at my house since I got it a month or so before it was released and if it’s any indication of the direction that Caudle’s career is heading a lot of heads will be turning his way soon. Help us out and at the same time treat yourself to what is going to end up as one of the best records of the year by purchasing Paint Another Layer on Amazon here: Paint Another Layer on My Heart. Check out Caleb Caudle’s website here: www.CalebCaudle.com