Paul Cauthen is currently on a swing through the Western U.S., part of an extensive tour supporting his newest studio effort, Room 41. At a sold out Doug Fir Lounge on Tuesday, October 8th, Cauthen and his bandmates worked through a solid set that showcased his powerful baritone voice, his songwriting chops, and the ample capabilities of his band.
After a raucous opening set from glam roots-rocker Kyle Craft, Cauthen opened with “Still Drivin’,” the first track from his 2016 debut solo album, My Gospel. He followed that up with “Saddle,” a song off the same album that garnered some added attention with the release of a Chris Phelps-directed music video. Next, 2018 EP Have Mercy was represented with Cauthen singing “Resignation” and “My Cadillac.”
With two full length albums and a seven-song EP to pull from, Cauthen’s set was mostly original material, with only two well-chosen covers added to the mix. ZZ Top’s “Waiting On A Bus,” and The Who’s “Eminence Front” fit right into the soulful groove Cauthen’s band has established.
Songs from Room 41 didn’t show up until about half way through the set, and then they came one after another, starting with “Holy Ghost Fire,” then continuing with “Slow Down,” “Big Velvet,” and “Prayed For Rain.” After the gospel saturated “Give ‘em Peace,” the band took a break and Cauthen played a few tunes on his own, including a take on “Let It Burn,” which really demonstrates his soaring voice. This version also demonstrated Cauthen’s intolerance for front-row yappers, stopping in the middle of the song to tell a couple of chatty attendees to kindly STFU before continuing.
The band came back and Cauthen sang the title track from My Gospel, then ended with a couple more tracks from Room 41, closing out the set with the slow-rolling groove of “Freak,” “My Friends,” which was a co-write with Hayes Carll, and then the foot stomping funk of “Cocaine Country Dancing.” After the band finished the ending jam and left the stage, Cauthen came back out treated the crowd to a closing solo version of “Marfa Lights.”
The Room 41 Tour shows Cauthen continuing to refine his sound, which combines gritty, soulful singing, and songs ranging from outlaw-era country, to gospel, to slow-rolling funk. The Portland crowd was appreciative (aside from the talkers), and are sure to welcome the East Texas native back, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.
Paul Cauthen, Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, Oregon, 10.8.19
Still Drivin’, Saddle, Resignation, My Cadillac, Hanging Out On The Line, Have Mercy, Waiting On A Bus (ZZ Top), Holy Ghost Fire, Slow Down, Big Velvet, Prayed For Rain, Eminence Front (The Who), Give ‘Em Peace, (Acoustic Break), My Gospel, Freak, My Friends, Cocaine Country Dancing, Marfa Lights (solo)