house show: caleb caudle

house show: caleb caudle

Caleb Caudle played in my living room on Friday, doing a lot of songs from last year’s stunning Paint Another Layer On Your Heart, and a bunch from his upcoming Carolina Ghost, which looks to be even more stunning. You didn’t come to this show, but you should have.

concerts: great peacock @ local 506


Nashville’s Great Peacock, who put out their records on my beloved This Is American Music, came through the Thrill last week and played to a sparse but deeply interested crowd. They rock much harder than some of their twangier label mates, but any band that rocks a poncho with a bejeweled peacock on the back has a little bit of the spirit of the Flying Burrito Brothers in them, too. It’s sharp songwriting paired with dual lead vocals and a tight rhythm section; they’re great, and you should go see them. (Trav smartly said that they sounded like an up to date version of the BoDeans, which is both true and in our humble opinions, a honest enormous compliment. We love the BoDeans, and we loved Great Peacock, too.)

Full set here.

concerts: caleb caudle @ the cave

caleb caudle @ the cave

caleb caudle @ the cave

caleb caudle @ the cave

Caleb Caudle’s Paint Another Layer On My Heart is one of my very, very favorite records of 2014 — the songwriting is so delicate and heartbreaking, and it feels terrifically like a long distance love affair album, which I appreciate. He played an excellent hour long set at the Cave on Friday night, including my favorite tracks “Miss You Like Crazy” and “Trade All The Lights”, for which there’s a gorgeous video that you can watch below. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Caleb twice this month, and I get to add a third tomorrow when he opens for Lydia Loveless at Motorco. You should go to that show, it’s gonna be great great great. I’ll probably cry.

album reviews: caleb caudle & fire mountain

the fresh & onlys @ local 506

A double shot from This Is American Music! You know I love those guys like whoa.

Fire Mountain – All Dies Down: this is an album full of contradictions; it’s lovely but lonely. The rough vocals and the acoustic guitar driving the songs play against the electric guitars and piano that sound the way heat looks shimmering off the highway. Perry Brown’s voice plays against the incredibly well-used sparse female harmonies; it’s not quite folk but not quite pop. I found myself startled by it, most of the time, because the songs — like “Doing Fine”, my favorite track on the record, which choruses baby no one’s doing fine — have titles that belie the content. The complexity of the songs contrasts the rawness of the emotions on it; it’s just absolutely fascinating to me, and it feels, well — it feels dually intentional and completely accidental. I’m still teasing out pieces of this album, which has been out since May, and I haven’t quite made sense of it yet, but I know I like it. Another contradiction. Which is what makes All Dies Down great.

Caleb Caudle – Paint Another Layer On Your Heart: there’s this line in “How’d You Learn”, the opener on this album, that just staggered me the first time I heard it, and I keep being staggered by it: home doesn’t share you with the places you’ve been. I have no idea why this hits my heart so hard, but the first time I heard it, it just blew my mind. This is Caudle’s debut for This Is American Music, and it’s so excellent I can’t even believe it. Caudle has written a record that’s an ode to trying harder, reaching for more, the things you lose and the things you find, and home doesn’t share you with the places you’ve been just epitomizes everything on this album that’s genius. It’s a guitar rock record with a pedal steel aftertaste, Caudle’s aching voice the centerpiece of everything that it brings. “Miss You Like Crazy” is one of my favorite love songs not just of 2014, but ever, and “Trade All The Lights”, Caudle’s poem to New Orleans, might be the best song to be released this year. There’s so much packed into these ten tracks that it’s nearly impossible for me to do the album justice; I could quote you every line from every song and I wouldn’t feel like I’d explained how gorgeous and soaring Paint Another Layer is. It isn’t a concept album, but all ten songs are part homecoming and part running away, full of hooks that will stay in your head for days. Incredible songwriting and heavy, anguished, uplifting guitars to go with it. Go get this right now. Right now.

the first album i ever bought: oasis – what’s the story morning glory?

typhoon @ cat's cradle

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs (almost) every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here. My friends at This Is American Music are about to take over this feature for at least the next few weeks, so enjoy.

I grew up in Tuscaloosa, Alabama– just up the street from a local record shop.  It was close enough that I could walk to it after school or on the weekends.  It was a couple of doors down from where my father worked and next door to a pretty good sandwich shop.  We lived north of the river, which wasn’t nearly as developed back then as it is in the present-day tornado-ravaged and condo-stuffed Tuscaloosa.

My most-prized possession back then was a clunky black Sony Discman that ate AA batteries like candy.  I was practically attached to the thing.  On the bus, in the backseat of the car, walking around the neighborhood… I usually had my headphones on.  Music was my first love and I’ve been in a steady monogamous relationship with it since I could carry it everywhere I went.

Before the Discman, I used to just tape songs off the radio.  When it came to discovering new things, though, my go-to source was television.  At this point, I was already losing touch with MTV because they started running actual shows instead of just videos.  (I hated MTV before it was cool…)   Suddenly, a new channel appeared really high on the dial.  It was “The Box”.  I was hooked.

Do you remember “The Box”?  Some people I mention it to do– most don’t recall it.  It was a strictly music video channel that allowed the viewer to request the next video by dialing a 1-900 number and punching in it’s code.  The names of the videos scrolled the bottom of the screen and you would jot down the code and dial the number.    You never really knew what was coming next on “The Box”.

The next video up that night was “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis.  At this glorious moment in music history, Oasis weren’t just huge– they were the biggest band on the planet.  This was my first exposure to them and it wrecked my brain.  It looked so different than anything else and the name of the song just sounded SO DAMN COOL to me at the time.  (Honestly, it still does.)  One of the first things you see is a dude (Bonehead was his name, to be precise) playing a fucking melodica!!!  And the guy looks like John Lennon!!!  Then the guitars kick in, the vocals soar… and seven and a half minutes later it has to end.  You see, songs have a beginning and an ending.

Or do they?  Could it not just go on forever?  Well, on “The Box”, it technically could… hence the ridiculous phone bill I ran up by requesting it over and over.  Perhaps it would be cheaper to just buy the CD.  So the next day, I walked up the street and purchased what still stands as one of my favorite albums.

It was “What’s the Story Morning Glory?” by Oasis.

I went on to buy plenty of embarrassing and downright horrifying things after that, but I can stand proudly behind that record.  It is still one of my favorite CD’s to put on in the car and sing along to.  “Champagne Supernova” sold me, but sooner or later every song on the disc shoved it’s way into my brain and my emotions.  “Wonderwall” became a staple on the radio, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” became one of my favorite songs (ever)… and “Champagne Supernova” even became the de-facto slow-skate song at Super Skate– the local rollerblading spot.

Music has this amazing power to make you feel cool– this record made me feel alive.  It made me want to play music.  It was one of a handful of albums that I often practiced to when I wanted to feel like a real badass.  Put it on for me today and I could probably drum the whole record from muscle memory.

That black CD stayed in my black Discman for a long, long time.  I finally got to see Oasis in Vegas in 2001.  I managed to grab a setlist and I got it signed by the band as they loaded into their buses.  I told a very, very abbreviated version of this story to Liam Gallagher as he signed my setlist.

His reply?  “Thanks, mate.”

Music never lets me down.  Not then, not now and not ever.

Reed Watson lives in Florence, AL and plays drums for Belle Adair and The Pollies. 

the first album i ever bought: michael jackson – bad


The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs (almost) every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here. My friends at This Is American Music are about to take over this feature for at least the next few weeks, so enjoy.

My brother, Danny, and I were Michael Jackson fans from the first time we heard the song “Beat It”. We were maybe all of 7 and 4 years old when it was released as a radio single. And even at that young age, I remember going apeshit in the backseat of my Mom’s car every time the song would come on the radio. We would hear the intro (with those opening synth notes) and start freaking out. We couldn’t understand half of the lyrics. But we sang along to what we thought the words might be, and filled in the blanks where we were unsure.

At that time, I was a bit too young to buy music on my own. I was more concerned with riding my bike to the local convenient store and spending whatever change I had in my pocket on Big League Chew and Jolly Rancher candy. But we remained avid fans of Michael Jackson. In fact, I remember spending hours trying to learn how to Moonwalk. And I may or may not have owned a shiny glove at one point.

A few years later, the Bad album was released; and I had to have it. But I didn’t have much money, and my Mom’s birthday was coming up. So I said to Danny, “Let’s get Mom the new Michael Jackson album. Then we can listen to it whenever we want!” And that’s exactly what we did. We bought the Bad album on vinyl and gave it to my Mom for her birthday. Problem solved. Crisis averted.

Who’s Bad?

Matt Burke is the singer-songwriter for Tampa, Florida band HAVE GUN, WILL TRAVEL. The above photo is Matt and his brother Danny as kids.

the first album i ever bought: the wallflowers – bringing down the horse

yep roc 15: the mayflies (usa)

The First Album I Ever Bought is an occasional guest post series where friends, family, and strangers talk about, well, the first album they ever bought. A new piece runs (almost) every Wednesday, and sometimes more often. If you’d like to submit, please see the guidelines here. My friends at This Is American Music are about to take over this feature for at least the next few weeks, so enjoy.

I was 11 years old when Bringing Down The Horse came out and it still resonates with me today. Much like the rest of the world, I heard about the band because of the insane popularity of the single “One Headlight”. The songs were well written, the band was tight and T Bone Burnett’s production really came into its own here. The Wallflowers tend to get lost in the haze of the 90’s alt-rock movement, but they really offered something more unique than most of their contemporaries.

I think the main reason why this album meant so much to me is because at the time I certainly didn’t “get” Bob Dylan, but he was and is my father’s favorite artist. I remember being elated to find out that Jakob was Bob’s son. In my mind it created this musical bond between the music my father loved and my own musical taste at the time. Everything about Jakob was appealing to me, from the way he sang (subconsciously I learned my own singing delivery from him) to the way he arranged songs. He owed a lot of inspiration to his father, as well as the likes of Tom Petty, Neil Young and Springsteen.

By echoing his influences and arranging songs with a good dose of pop sensibility, he really opened the door for me to a world of music I hadn’t appreciated until then.

Kent Goolsby is the singer/songwriter of the Nashville, TN based band Kent Goolsby & the Gold Standard, and you can hear his music here.