Artists like Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and Sturgill Simpson have created a recent surge in popularity and notoriety in Americana and traditional country music. North Carolina’s Caleb Caudle is a hidden gem in Americana music that some critics are calling the “next Jason Isbell”. This comparison is drawn from Caudle’s rich lyrical depth and soothing back porch sound. His latest release Carolina Ghost on This is American Music, a southern rock indie label making waves with their ocean of talent. Carolina Ghost is a dang near perfect album with tunes of love and sorrow coupled with southern imagery alongside Caudle’s warm acoustic guitar.
The pedal steel takes forefront in the classic country opener“ Gotta Be” with an infectious chorus of “There’s gotta be somebody willing, to fight for you when you can’t see the light.” One of the Carolina Ghost’s highlights is the jangly tune, “Piedmont Sky,” where Caudle sings about finding love while the “dogwoods bloom”. One of Caudle’s strengths as a songwriter is capturing the rich imagery and phrasing of the south. The gospel tinged “White Doves Wings” incorporates acoustic dobro combined with an irresistible hook – “Red wine stains on white doves wings, a furious love has found me.” On the latest single “Uphill Battle.” Caudle sings of weepy sorrows and struggles laden with heavy pedal steel. One of the stronger choruses on the album is featured in the Americana number “Steel and Stone,” where Caudle describes the smells of tobacco barns before leading into the chorus of “Everything just steel and stone, you wove your heart into my own.” With one of the strongest releases of 2016 so far, Caleb Caudle gives us all hope that genuine, honest songwriting and music is still alive and well for many years to come.