Review: Caleb Caudle – Paint Another Layer On My Heart

a2221381681_10When you have the ear of John Moreland, you are doing something right. Thus the well-deserved admiration for Paint Another Layer On My Heart, the latest release from New Orleans-via-North Carolina singer/songwriter Caleb Caudle. Following the 2012 release Tobacco Town, Caudle hit the road, playing 300+ shows in 30 states, all the while relocating to the Crescent City. The resulting Paint Another Layer On My Heart is a collection of road-weary songs of love and loss, detailed to great effect by an often unrepentant narrator.

Largely a sullen album, Paint Another Layer On My Heart teeters between soulful (“Drag”), dour (“Monday”) and false promises (“Missing Holidays”). The lovelorn standout “Trade All the Lights” and its ache of miles benefits from vocals by Lydia Loveless.

It hurts to know you are so far away
Nights are getting longer and they’re swallowing up the days
The highways in between hum to the sound of your heartbeat
It hurts to know you are so far away

The album’s more upbeat songs find Caudle playing the contrite role. The country swoon of “Another Night” and its morning after philosophy is the album’s most personal song. Showing his hand on the raucous “Bottles and Cans,” Caudle calls out his own bullshit.

So when I mess it all up I apologize
What makes you happy is
I put my hands in my pocket, took a step back
And what came out first was untrue
But I cover it up with a kiss like I always do

In lesser hands, sentimental songs like “Miss You Like Crazy” would come across as cloying. Proving to be an old soul, Caudle’s lyrical deftness is accented by pedal steel provided by Whit Wright (American Aquarium), adding an extra level of pathos that keeps the song floating.

Beautifully rendered, Paint Another Layer On My Heart and its dusty county lines and exhausted apologies should mark Caudle a voice of critical acclaim in Americana music.

Watch Caudle perform “Come On October” from Couch By Couchwest 2014 and stream/purchase Paint Another Layer On My Heart via This Is American Music below.

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