“I’m an uphill battle, just fight a little longer.” sings country up-and-comer Caleb Caudle; the Winston-Salem, North Carolina native released his new album, Carolina Ghost, to rave reviews in February. Brimming with tales of hard times, heartache, and hope, Carolina Ghost is a pedal steel-laden testament to the good things happening in country music right now. His music harkens back to a simpler era, to a time before the genre had been taken hostage by pop-tinged drivel about bros and beer. I’ll get off my soapbox now.
“I was really into The Replacements and The Clash when I was younger; I eventually found my way to country music, and fell in love with it—the simplicity and the honesty of it. It wasn’t a ‘cool club’, it was an ‘everyone’s invited’ kind of thing. I was drawn to it because it felt really accepting to anyone who has the time to listen to it,” explains Caudle. “I draw influence from artists like John Prine, Merle Haggard, Gram Parsons, Waylon, and Willie. Modern country has just gone so far in the other direction from the things that I like, it’s like a whole separate thing now. There does seem to be a building of good stuff happening right now, and it’s getting attention, which is nice.”
Caudle has already packed a lot of living into his young life; he triumphantly recounts the difficulties he’s experienced in his music, coupling the stories with upbeat accompaniments. “I was lost in life and was trying to make a change, and for some reason chose to move to New Orleans, not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I enjoyed living there, but it fueled my bad habits. I learned a lot, and I changed a lot,” he recalls. “I quit drinking while I was there, and decided to move back home. I’ve been sober for about 19 months now.”
Moving back home presented its own set of challenges. “Winston-Salem is such a small place, I knew everyone. When I moved back, I had to re-learn how to have fun instead of hanging out at the bars every night. My friends changed because of that, my lifestyle change meant I wasn’t seeing the same people every day. It worked out though, I fell in love and got engaged. Now I hang out at home and watch Netflix,” says Caudle with a laugh.
The singer has been touring full-time for the last few years, and will make a stop in the Music City on Sunday, March 20th, with a performance at legendary local venue The Basement. “I’m excited about going back to all these places I’ve played before. It’s nice this time around because I’ll have the new record with me,” he says. “We recorded it in North Carolina, in about 10 14-hour days in a row. I had some North Carolina and Nashville folks playing on it. We had a great time; I had a really specific vision I was going for, and I feel like we were able to capture that.”
Caudle will be performing with the musicians who played on the album at The Basement on March 20th; make a good choice and get your tickets, you don’t want to miss this.
[Tickets are only $5! To purchase, click here.]