SHOW REVIEW: Caleb Caudle at Hill Country Barbecue

Show Reviews
Caleb Caudle
Caleb Caudle at Hill Country Barbecue in D.C.; photo by Melissa Clarke

Caleb Caudle is releasing his hotly anticipated 5th album in six years today Crushed Coins (Cornelius Chapel Records), which was co-produced with Jon Ashley (Hiss Golden Messenger). Americana Highways had a chance to catch Caudle last week at Hill Country Barbecue. Caudle was still getting his land legs back from the Cayamo Cruise, which had just ended. It seems perhaps fitting for a person to reconnect with land onstage in a Texas themed setting.


Once you are inside Hill Country Barbecue in D.C, you would scarcely know you weren’t in Texas. From the wooden plank floors to the Texas license plates lining the walls and the smell of burnt ends and ribs, you are surrounded by mementos of the Lone Star State at every turn. And the restaurant is full to capacity, with people making their way down the narrow staircase after dinner.


As Caudle took to the stage, fans were already standing on the dance floor.   One man in the crowd said he was there on a business trip from Chicago, and had decided to check out Hill Country Barbecue, studied up on Caleb Caudle, and was really excited to be there. Other fans had come specifically for Caudle’s show tonight.


Caudle opened the night with “Lost Without You,” the tender, pretty lead track on his new album, and then another new one: “Way You Ought to be Seen,” a sweet crooning song that tugs at your heartstrings. “Love That’s Wild” was an advance preview release, and fans knew it already even ahead of the album’s availability. It really affected the crowd who swayed along in emotional alliance.


He played a balanced mix of songs from Crushed Coins and two of his recent albums Paint Another Layer on My Heart (including one that had featured Lydia Loveless on that album: “Trade All the Lights”) and Carolina Ghost, closing the night with “Borrowed Smiles” with its line “I used to stay out all night, but now it’s midnight and this place has got me feeling like a ghost. How many smiles could I borrow from a bottle,” words everyone unanimously understands.


Caudle’s voice is simultaneously languid and vibrant, and his songs have a tendency to soothe, which is something we all seem to need nowadays.   His songs are known for celebrating the small things in life. “Crushed Coins” is reminiscent of a childhood game of putting coins out to be crushed on railroad tracks. It’s an emotional mix of nostalgia and wonder.


To get his brand new release, and then see his upcoming tour, including some shows with Elizabeth Cook, see here.

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