Caleb Caudle & The Sweet Critters

Sun Oct 13 2024

7:30 PM (Doors 7:00 PM)

The Southgate House Revival - Revival Room

111 E Sixth Street Newport, KY 41071

$15 adv/$18 dos

All Ages

Share With Friends

Share
Share
Just as the marbled salamanders emerge from under damp logs and leaves, the
mushrooms—smooth, pearlescent ones and spongy morels—turn on like nightlights glowing in the dark, and the long-horned beetles and regal moths begin buzzing. The fiddlehead ferns and trout lilies curl inward, a copperhead slowly swerves, and a fox steps into the moonlight looking for prey. It is here, in that restless middle of the night, under cover of darkness, where Caleb Caudle’s sixth studio LP Sweet Critters is nestled. Like Molly Sherlock’s beautifully illustrated flora, fauna and creatures adorning its cover, Sweet Critters is a nocturnal collection of songs about the things that keep you up at night by an artist deeply in tune with himself. It is an exercise in finding clarity at that ungodly morning hour when memories of the past and anxiety about the future slowly fade into something more like precious, peaceful alone time in the present.
 

Caleb Caudle & The Sweet Critters

  • Caleb Caudle

    Caleb Caudle

    Country Folk

    Just as the marbled salamanders emerge from under damp logs and leaves, the mushrooms—smooth, pearlescent ones and spongy morels—turn on like nightlights glowing in the dark, and the long-horned beetles and regal moths begin buzzing. The fiddlehead ferns and trout lilies curl inward, a copperhead slowly swerves, and a fox steps into the moonlight looking for prey. It is here, in that restless middle of the night, under cover of darkness, where Caleb Caudle’s sixth studio LP Sweet Critters is nestled. Like Molly Sherlock’s beautifully illustrated flora, fauna and creatures adorning its cover, Sweet Critters is a nocturnal collection of songs about the things that keep you up at night by an artist deeply in tune with himself. It is an exercise in finding clarity at that ungodly morning hour when memories of the past and anxiety about the future slowly fade into something more like precious, peaceful alone time in the present. 

    Through sometimes shadowy arrangements that creep and lurk, Caudle continues to mine both the brightest and murkiest corners of his imagination, finding that purest of points where tenderness and grit collide, inspired by musical heroes like Buddy Miller and Guy Clark, and mentors like Elizabeth Cook and John Paul White. It was White who Caudle tapped to produce Sweet Critters, along with Ben Tanner, at the duo’s Florence, Alabama studio Sun Drop Sound. "I was very excited to work with Caleb on this record. Iʼve been a fan for years and count him as a friend,” White says of working with Caudle. “Heʼs a stellar songwriter, so I knew heʼd bring the goods. And he did.” 

    “It felt really hands-on in a way that I have not experienced before,” Caudle recalls. “I felt like John Paul really pushed me. He’s such a good singer and his ears are crazy. He hears things that a lot of people wouldn’t hear.” Caudle says, “I hear us pushing what I was doing in the past to a new space where there’s more atmosphere and more room.” 

    White adds, “Iʼm very proud of this record from top to bottom, and of Caleb for letting me push him a little out of his comfort zone. He has a unique knack for writing songs that feel timeless, worn in, comfortable—like new friends you feel like youʼve known forever." Literal new friends 

    Aoife O’Donovan and Allison Russell also contributed their voices to two of Sweet Critters’ prettiest cuts, “The Brim” and “Heaven Sometimes,” respectively. 

    These songs are a showcase of Caudle’s singular command of language. He sees the world through a hyperreal lens wholly unique to him, one that renders dank humidity “horsefly heat,” a moody sky “cast iron skillet” dark, or a loved one’s “wind chime of a smile.” For Caudle, details are the last frontier in a world where thousands of new songs are created every day. As such, he weaves his intricate tales of redemption, sacrifice, forgiveness, and loss with the colorful threads of living, breathing characters and all the rich idiosyncrasies and ephemera that fill out their worlds. 

    His own personal details—the challenges of a life lived largely away from home, an unshakable awe of the natural world, his demons and shame, the untimely death of friend and bandmate Alex McKinney (to whom Sweet Critters is dedicated)—peak through, too. The string-laden ballad “River of Fire” is a sobering recollection of a time he was robbed at gunpoint, an

    experience he had to fully process for the empathy needed to write about it. “The Devil’s Voice,” with its foreboding and slinky melody, grapples with a life’s potential obscured by addiction, material that was once painfully close to home for Caudle. And “Knee Deep Blues” builds tension with stop-and-start percussion and fiery dobro riffs as Caudle yearns for peace of mind amid the tumult surrounding him on all sides. That same turbulent inner dialogue is captured in his simmering take on Keith Whitley’s “Great High Mountain,” opening the album with a dramatic ascending harmonium. Caudle delivers this hymnal mantra for navigating life’s greatest obstacles in a deep, meditative register, like he’s singing it to himself as much as to his listeners. 

    But if those moments are the inky subconscious of Sweet Critters, its beating heart lies in the gentle call and response with O’Donovan in “The Brim,” the warm devotion of “Kentucky When You Called,” and the lilting guitar notes that punctuate the story of the folks at the center of the dreamy title track—people who have been perfectly seasoned by life’s countless pleasures and pitfalls. It is in the soft forest floor that beckons Caudle’s frayed nerves in “Mountain Laurel,” and the familiar embrace of a friend not often seen in “Where We Left Off.” And it is embedded in the cinderblock walls of the local Winston-Salem venue that saw him come of age at open mics and warm-up slots for artists like Jason Isbell and The Felice Brothers, the first place he felt truly accepted and one he lovingly pays tribute to in “The Garage.” 

    The implication of the album title is, in a way, a distillation of Caudle’s philosophy not just as a songwriter, but as a person. “I just started thinking about the innocence of everyone when we come into all this. I always view animals in that way,” he says. “No fear of judging or being judged. The worst of humanity is taught and a lot of people who get caught up in that probably didn’t have a chance.” 

    When it comes to the complicated, flawed subjects taking up residence in his songs, Caudle reserves judgment and avoids villainizing them. Instead, he gives them space to expand and change, and eventually to dissolve and make room for other characters, new stories. “I’m really trying to inject as much of the human Caleb as I possibly can, rather than just focusing solely on the artist. It makes your art better when you’re focused more on the human side of it,” he says. “I just want to make sure that I’m open and willing to constantly change because I think that’s what life is calling me to do, to remain in a constant flow. The river is going forward and you can either fight it or let it take you away.” 

    The seed of this realization may be rooted in that charged moment of nocturnal awareness, when the world is still steeped in darkness and uncertainty. But in the clear light of day, it comes into sharp focus for Caudle. “Writing songs has taught me that life doesn’t have to be so rigid. It can be way more fluid, tender, vulnerable, and kind. 

    Written by Maeri Ferguson

     

Please correct the information below.

Select ticket quantity.

Complete the security check.

Select Tickets

limit 10 per person
Revival Room

$15.00

Delivery Method

Will Call

Caleb Caudle & The Sweet Critters

Sun Oct 13 2024 7:30 PM

(Doors 7:00 PM)

The Southgate House Revival - Revival Room Newport KY
Caleb Caudle & The Sweet Critters

$15 adv/$18 dos All Ages

Just as the marbled salamanders emerge from under damp logs and leaves, the
mushrooms—smooth, pearlescent ones and spongy morels—turn on like nightlights glowing in the dark, and the long-horned beetles and regal moths begin buzzing. The fiddlehead ferns and trout lilies curl inward, a copperhead slowly swerves, and a fox steps into the moonlight looking for prey. It is here, in that restless middle of the night, under cover of darkness, where Caleb Caudle’s sixth studio LP Sweet Critters is nestled. Like Molly Sherlock’s beautifully illustrated flora, fauna and creatures adorning its cover, Sweet Critters is a nocturnal collection of songs about the things that keep you up at night by an artist deeply in tune with himself. It is an exercise in finding clarity at that ungodly morning hour when memories of the past and anxiety about the future slowly fade into something more like precious, peaceful alone time in the present.
 
Caleb Caudle

Caleb Caudle

Country Folk

Just as the marbled salamanders emerge from under damp logs and leaves, the mushrooms—smooth, pearlescent ones and spongy morels—turn on like nightlights glowing in the dark, and the long-horned beetles and regal moths begin buzzing. The fiddlehead ferns and trout lilies curl inward, a copperhead slowly swerves, and a fox steps into the moonlight looking for prey. It is here, in that restless middle of the night, under cover of darkness, where Caleb Caudle’s sixth studio LP Sweet Critters is nestled. Like Molly Sherlock’s beautifully illustrated flora, fauna and creatures adorning its cover, Sweet Critters is a nocturnal collection of songs about the things that keep you up at night by an artist deeply in tune with himself. It is an exercise in finding clarity at that ungodly morning hour when memories of the past and anxiety about the future slowly fade into something more like precious, peaceful alone time in the present. 

Through sometimes shadowy arrangements that creep and lurk, Caudle continues to mine both the brightest and murkiest corners of his imagination, finding that purest of points where tenderness and grit collide, inspired by musical heroes like Buddy Miller and Guy Clark, and mentors like Elizabeth Cook and John Paul White. It was White who Caudle tapped to produce Sweet Critters, along with Ben Tanner, at the duo’s Florence, Alabama studio Sun Drop Sound. "I was very excited to work with Caleb on this record. Iʼve been a fan for years and count him as a friend,” White says of working with Caudle. “Heʼs a stellar songwriter, so I knew heʼd bring the goods. And he did.” 

“It felt really hands-on in a way that I have not experienced before,” Caudle recalls. “I felt like John Paul really pushed me. He’s such a good singer and his ears are crazy. He hears things that a lot of people wouldn’t hear.” Caudle says, “I hear us pushing what I was doing in the past to a new space where there’s more atmosphere and more room.” 

White adds, “Iʼm very proud of this record from top to bottom, and of Caleb for letting me push him a little out of his comfort zone. He has a unique knack for writing songs that feel timeless, worn in, comfortable—like new friends you feel like youʼve known forever." Literal new friends 

Aoife O’Donovan and Allison Russell also contributed their voices to two of Sweet Critters’ prettiest cuts, “The Brim” and “Heaven Sometimes,” respectively. 

These songs are a showcase of Caudle’s singular command of language. He sees the world through a hyperreal lens wholly unique to him, one that renders dank humidity “horsefly heat,” a moody sky “cast iron skillet” dark, or a loved one’s “wind chime of a smile.” For Caudle, details are the last frontier in a world where thousands of new songs are created every day. As such, he weaves his intricate tales of redemption, sacrifice, forgiveness, and loss with the colorful threads of living, breathing characters and all the rich idiosyncrasies and ephemera that fill out their worlds. 

His own personal details—the challenges of a life lived largely away from home, an unshakable awe of the natural world, his demons and shame, the untimely death of friend and bandmate Alex McKinney (to whom Sweet Critters is dedicated)—peak through, too. The string-laden ballad “River of Fire” is a sobering recollection of a time he was robbed at gunpoint, an

experience he had to fully process for the empathy needed to write about it. “The Devil’s Voice,” with its foreboding and slinky melody, grapples with a life’s potential obscured by addiction, material that was once painfully close to home for Caudle. And “Knee Deep Blues” builds tension with stop-and-start percussion and fiery dobro riffs as Caudle yearns for peace of mind amid the tumult surrounding him on all sides. That same turbulent inner dialogue is captured in his simmering take on Keith Whitley’s “Great High Mountain,” opening the album with a dramatic ascending harmonium. Caudle delivers this hymnal mantra for navigating life’s greatest obstacles in a deep, meditative register, like he’s singing it to himself as much as to his listeners. 

But if those moments are the inky subconscious of Sweet Critters, its beating heart lies in the gentle call and response with O’Donovan in “The Brim,” the warm devotion of “Kentucky When You Called,” and the lilting guitar notes that punctuate the story of the folks at the center of the dreamy title track—people who have been perfectly seasoned by life’s countless pleasures and pitfalls. It is in the soft forest floor that beckons Caudle’s frayed nerves in “Mountain Laurel,” and the familiar embrace of a friend not often seen in “Where We Left Off.” And it is embedded in the cinderblock walls of the local Winston-Salem venue that saw him come of age at open mics and warm-up slots for artists like Jason Isbell and The Felice Brothers, the first place he felt truly accepted and one he lovingly pays tribute to in “The Garage.” 

The implication of the album title is, in a way, a distillation of Caudle’s philosophy not just as a songwriter, but as a person. “I just started thinking about the innocence of everyone when we come into all this. I always view animals in that way,” he says. “No fear of judging or being judged. The worst of humanity is taught and a lot of people who get caught up in that probably didn’t have a chance.” 

When it comes to the complicated, flawed subjects taking up residence in his songs, Caudle reserves judgment and avoids villainizing them. Instead, he gives them space to expand and change, and eventually to dissolve and make room for other characters, new stories. “I’m really trying to inject as much of the human Caleb as I possibly can, rather than just focusing solely on the artist. It makes your art better when you’re focused more on the human side of it,” he says. “I just want to make sure that I’m open and willing to constantly change because I think that’s what life is calling me to do, to remain in a constant flow. The river is going forward and you can either fight it or let it take you away.” 

The seed of this realization may be rooted in that charged moment of nocturnal awareness, when the world is still steeped in darkness and uncertainty. But in the clear light of day, it comes into sharp focus for Caudle. “Writing songs has taught me that life doesn’t have to be so rigid. It can be way more fluid, tender, vulnerable, and kind. 

Written by Maeri Ferguson

 

Please correct the information below.

Select ticket quantity.

Complete the security check.

Select Tickets

All Ages
limit 10 per person
Revival Room
$15.00

Delivery Method

Will Call