The greatest works of art are often made by artists that don’t see anything beyond them. There is something freeing about not having to think of anything other than what’s there on the canvas in front of you, without having to worry about expectations or the trajectory of what will come of it all.
Caleb Caudle made his new record as if it was going to be his last, and it sounds as so; there is something grand and defining about it.
After the pandemic put pay to any tour plans he had for his previous record, Better Hurry Up, he and his wife moved from Nashville back to their home state of North Carolina. For the first time in a long time, Caudle had nothing but time to spare; he spent most of it in the woods surrounding him, hiking, observing and thinking about where he wanted to be in his life and at the end of his career.
As uncertainty loomed, Caudle decided to make what he thought might be his last album. He took John Carter Cash up on an offer he'd made over a fishing trip once to produce his next record and they set to work.
Forsythia is the album they recorded together at Cash Cabin just outside Nashville with acclaimed session players Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Dennis Crouch and Fred Eltringham and the vocal talents of Carlene Carter, Elizabeth Cook and Sarah Peasall McGuffey. The songs lay out a philosophical map of Caudle’s life and the stars by which he navigates it. It’s vast and calming, washing all around you as you listen to it like an ocean.
“Bright as a forsythia bush in bloom / when the light’s right / early April / late afternoon,” Caudle sings on the title track, inspired once again by the natural world around him as memories from his childhood come flooding back to him.
“This is the most autobiographical song I’ve ever written’, Caudle explained to us. “I grew up across the street from a small general store called Gordy’s Hardware which was run by some cousins on my Mom’s side of the family. They had slingshots, harmonicas, candy and pretty much everything else a kid would want. There’s a creek that runs back behind my folks' house and I used to fish and look for crawdads back there. After travelling all over the world, this song is a celebration of my first world; a real small one. I love the innocence of it and I go there in my mind when life gets tough”.
The video for Forsythia is premiering exclusively at Holler below.
Like the rest of the songs on Forsythia, it finds beauty in simpler times; a renewed childlike sense of hope and contentment that feels powerfully subversive in these increasingly dark days.
The video for it, filmed in his native North Carolina, is equally as breathtaking. As Caudle explained to us, “This video was shot with just me and my manager Gabriel; we rode along the Blue Ridge Parkway and hit all of my sacred spots. It’s a trip I often take with my wife and I wanted to share the beauty of these mountains with everyone”.
We hope this doesn't really end up being his last record. He has so much to share.
Caleb Caudle's sixth album, Forsythia, is released on October 7th Via Soundly Music.
Click here to preorder. The title track is premiering exclusively on Holler above.