Caleb Caudle – Better Hurry Up
Caudle’s distinctive voice harbours doom as the band chugs into life on “Better Hurry Up”. This steamy swamp rocker urges alacrity as time slips away with a message about your own personal journey. The simple song structure has a chanting chorus of voices including John Paul White and Elizabeth Cook. “Monte Carlo”, “Dirty Curtain” & “Reach Down” all have that New Orleans swamp vibe and provide a welcome breadth to the sounds on this album.
John Jackson (Jayhawks) handled production responsibilities. He brought a fabulous band and a ‘live’ sound, which enabled each song to have more impact. Much is made in the PR material that the recording was done at Cash Cabin Studios on Johnny Cash’s estate. If the location had a meaningful impact then this small and intimate setting clearly brought the best out of all the players.
The luminaries abound throughout and Natalie Hemby (lately of The Highwoman) co-writes “Regular Riot”. This is back to a more familiar Caudle Country Folk sound with attractive pedal steel (Russ Pahl) signatures on a bright Byrds-esque tune. “Let’s Get” cruises along with Mickey Raphael’s (Willie Nelson) harmonica carrying the tune whilst Dennis Crouch’s (Alison Krauss & Rodney Crowell) thumping deep bass maintains the beat. Courtney Marie Andrews joins the vocal.
“Front Porch” returns Caudle home and places himself back in familiar surroundings reflecting on homely pleasures. He does excel at this type of gentle acoustic ballad with a fine tune and some heartfelt words. On the other hand, “Feelin’ Free” could be an outtake from Honky Chateau and features John Paul White. A splendid economic guitar solo from Laur Joamets (Sturgill Simpson) is the ‘take away’.
“Bigger Oceans” is a beautiful way to end the album: it’s a memorable and sumptuous tune that works perfectly with his melodious voice. It’s a paean to opening your mind and searching for wider horizons. Elizabeth Cook joins him and his acoustic guitar and pedal steel are the plaintive and simple accompaniment.
This is a fine album.