The weariness portrayed by Caleb Caudle on 2014’s Paint Another Layer on My Heart is all but gone on his latest album, Carolina Ghost. Newly sober and returned to his Piedmont roots, Caudle relishes in his newfound outlook and life’s little moments with ebullient joy on songs like “Gotta Be” and “Piedmont Sky,” the latter a love letter to home and new beginnings.
Paying penance for his past, Caudle — “the last person even I would want around” — trades the skinned knees of youth for love as on “White Doves Wings” and the somber promise of “Uphill Battle.” Stepping ever closer to country’s traditional roots with the tender “Steel and Stone,” Caudle recalls singers like Vern Gosdin and Mark Chestnutt, voices from prior generations whose integrity was never questioned. Backed by players such as Tommy Scifres (guitar), Greg Herndon (keys), Brett Resnick (pedal steel), Jordan Powers (bass) and Jack Foster (drums), Caudle et al go full tilt on “Borrowed Smiles,” an ironic barroom singalong, and the 8-track worthy “Wasted Thursday” with its longing from the road.
Downright beautiful, Carolina Ghost is a breezy collection of songs overflowing with life and packed with subtle intensity. A man at peace, Caudle sings honest poetry of the heart on this now and future classic.
Stream Carolina Ghost below and purchase the album on vinyl and CD via This Is American Music.