“The branches became lonesome as the blackbirds flew, the feathers fell down on this Tobacco Town for you,” sings Caleb Caudle on the title track of his fifth album out now. Releasing five records over the past five years, it’s the consistent strength of his songwriting that has snagged attention from sources such as Blurt Magazine noting, “…jaw-droppingly fine songs steeped in classic Earle, Ely, Clark, McMurtry and Van Zandt.”
Caudle has previously recorded both solo and with a band, as well as collaborating with Ryan Monroe from Band of Horses, and with noted producer Neilson Hubbard. Caudle now turns to the sweet spot of sparse roots-rock arrangements on Tobacco Town. With his North Carolina home as the backdrop, he aptly punctuates his songs with the harmonies and fiddle of Caitlin Cary (Small Ponds/Whiskeytown) and singer-songwriter Haley Dreis, as well with full band, and one-take recordings of just Caudle’s voice and guitar.
Caudle turns his pen to the shaky sides of life and relationship woes, “you know, the ones where you don’t want to stay, but don’t want to leave,” he shares. He brought Cary in for “Midnight Beauty,” which could be the album’s linchpin, with “Yes, You’re a Midnight Beauty But then again, aren’t we all?”
“Caitlin worked out the accompaniment on the fly and had the inherent feel that the song needed to be tongue-in-cheek, you know ‘you’re really great, but so are a lot of people and there’s a lot of fish in the sea.’”
In contrast “Little Reminders” was written right after meeting “the right person” – “And little reminders of you in the pocket of my jeans, your hair on the pillow, the vinyl still out of the sleeves.”
Elsewhere, “Hesitate” is full of stomps, whistles and rolling banjos with “Call on me even if you think we’ve said it all before though our words won’t change a thing, I still wanna hear even more, Because I don’t hesitate too much now.”
Tobacco Town includes Caleb Caudle (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica), Sam Kossler (guitar, banjo, bass, Dobro, pedal steel, keys, vocals), Chris Ankelien (drums), Caitlin Cary (violin, vocals on “Midnight Beauty” and “Blue or Gray”), Haley Dreis (violin, vocals on “Little Reminders” and “Anne Marie”). All songs were written by Caleb Caudle, with “Anne Marie” and “Hesitate” co-written by Sam Kossler who also recorded and produced the album.