North Carolina singer-songwriter Caleb Caudle has a demeanor that gives me a sense that he's calm yet confident. I was surprised that he's only put out a few albums. His songs evoke the maturity of an old soul.
Bill Frater: What got you started in the music business and why?
Caleb Caudle: I don't know that when I started I was thinking about any sort of business. I just love writing songs. It makes me feel less crazy. It helps me connect with people.
How do you describe your music to someone who’s never heard you?
They are the honest kind of songs. They just come from a vulnerable place. I think most art forms are at their best when the artist is honest with themselves. It makes things so much easier. I could be a million different things but then you gotta get up there and sing it every night. You better be sure that it's what you love and not worry too much about any sort of expectations anyone might have.
What was the first artist or album that got you into roots music?
I guess it would be the Replacements. I grew up on a lot of punk music, but they were really the only ones who would write more rootsy stuff. I'm totally addicted to finding new music, so it's just one of those things where one thing leads to the next and at the end of it all you totally see how Merle Haggard and A Tribe Called Quest come from this same place. Maybe not musically but certainly in ideal, and I believe it's because those folks weren't trying to sell me a truck or a beer. They were writing from a much more pure place.
Who are your favorite artists from any genre?
I'm pretty much all over with my listening habits. It's whatever mood I'm in, really. Been listening to more jazz than anything else in the last year.
How do you define Americana music?
To me it's a place where a lot of good music lives that the mainstream hasn't caught up to yet. I think about all the great songs that the "Americana" genre has brought us in the last 20 years. Now think about what's going on with country radio. Get real. If you can't hear that one of them is a commercial and one is a thoughtful tune then I don't know that I would be able to help. I'm just thankful that the community for what we all do is so strong. It's family and we're all lucky.
Where do you see Americana radio going in the future?
I love Americana radio. The DJs love the music they are playing. They love turning people on to new stuff. It's amazing.
What recent albums or artists are you excited about?
My favorite thing I've heard lately is Blue Rider Songs by Scott Hirsch. I love the latest Hiss Golden Messenger.
What are your most memorable experiences or memories from working in the music industry?
It's a long haul. Also, a lot of long halls. Also, it's a lot of getting to meetings and then wishing you could just sit around and play guitar instead.
Do you have any other interesting hobbies you wish to share?
I like to watch old wrestling on mute and listen to Miles Davis and watch them sync up. It's been my favorite new discovery. I also really enjoy hiking with my wife.