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Tickets to The Bluestone
May 19, 2022 7 PM
at The Bluestone
Want to get a bead on Paul Cauthen?
Good freakin’ luck — especially on his third album, COUNTRY COMING DOWN.
Suffice to say that the singer, songwriter and proud son of Tyler, Texas — steward of a rich, resonant, bass-leaning tenor dubbed Big Velvet — covers a lot of ground and embodies a lot of characters. He’ll tell you right off the bat that he’s “Country As Fuck,” throwing down a wad of “Fuck You Money” and heading into the night to “Cut a Rug.” His “Country Clubbin'” has as much to do with swinging as his swing. But a song or two later dude’s vowing to be loving his wife “Till the Day I Die” and, in COUNTRY COMING DOWN’s title track, dreams of living in “a cabin in the country, far away from the city lights” where “life is slow and easy.”
The fact that all of that exists within the same guy, who’s full of good humor, sharp wit and a heart as big as his home state is what makes Cauthen someone who’s easy, and exciting, to spend 10 songs with.
“Y’know, you got your bangers and you got your ballads,” Cauthen acknowledges. “You got your meaningful songs where you’re opening up more of your vulnerable side, and then you’re putting on a fucking show — all in one album. And it’s all honest, I’ll tell ya that. Everything on there is something I’ve felt or thought before.”
COUNTRY COMING DOWN has been in motion awhile, actually. The title track, one of several co-writes with good Nashville pal Aaron Raitiere, has been around since before Cauthen’s dark sophomore album ROOM 41. Its sense of campfire calm and “damn near off the map” idyll set a bar, for both music and lifestyle, that Cauthen aspired to, while the rest of the new album, recorded at Modern Electric Sound Recorders in Dallas with regular collaborators Beau Bedford (Texas Gentlemen) and Jason Burt (Medicine Man Revival), shows that Cauthen was able to get there without losing any of the playful “hot dog holly golly dagnabit” good-time spirit that rolls off his tongue like a tumbleweed in the west Texas panhandle.
As he promises in “Country As Fuck,” “I ain’t gotta sell my soul. If I want it then I grab it.”
“I’m having fun,” Cauthen says. “I’ve finally figured it out. I’m more settled and comfortable. I know I’m good at making records and great at entertaining. That’s my gift more than anything, to be able to get up there and deliver these songs to people.”
That gift is part of Cauthen’s DNA, of course, from a family deeply steeped in music. Texan on both sides, his paternal grandfather went to school with Hank Williams while his maternal grandpa, who worked with Buddy Holly and the Crickets during his youth, introduced Cauthen to singing. His grandmother taught him to play piano, while his grandfather and great uncle were the song leader and preacher, respectively, of the local Christian Church of Christ.
“Yeah, I had no choice, really” Cauthen says now. “(Music) is what I call my birddog trait; You don’t have to tell a birddog to jump in the river and grab the duck and bring it back to you. And you don’t have to tell me to get up on stage and perform. That’s what I’m supposed to do. My family enjoyed watching me perform when I was a kid; I would get up in front of everybody at Christmas with my guitar and play ‘Jackson’ with my grandmother. I learned my trade, y’know?”
Cauthen pursued that trade into young adulthood, showcasing at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos and forming the duo Sons of Fathers, whose early albums were produced by Lloyd Maines. After the group ran its course, Cauthen set off on his own in 2016, recording MY GOSPEL partly in Muscle Shoals, AL.; The album made Rolling Stone’s list of Top 40 Country Records that year. 2018’s HAVE MERCY EP began his association with Bedford and featured contributions by other members of the Texas Gentlemen, and also led to Cauthen’s Grand Ole Opry debut as a solo artist on June 22, 2018.
The critically acclaimed ROOM 41, meanwhile, chronicled and exorcised a rough period in Cauthen’s life, marked by a romantic breakup, substance abuse, depression and anxiety issues. “My growing years were like going to college,” Cauthen confesses. “I just got screwed so many times by so many different people on this whole freakin’ journey. I had this void I was trying to fill in my heart, with booze or any type of, just, abuse. I made every stupid mistake you can make in the business, and in life, in order to learn ’em all.
“I don’t feel that hurt anymore. I’ve changed.”
Marriage helped, he says. So did cleaning house and restructuring the business operation that surrounded him. That allowed Cauthen to plunge into COUNTRY COMING DOWN with a lighter heart and wicked humor — one that allowed him to find the profound meaning in a “schmoozie bougie brouhaha.”
If you want to know what that sounds like, tuck into the album’s sonic array, an austere, sinewy attack that puts Cauthen’s vocals dead center in the ride. “We’ve really unleashed Big Velvet in this situation, which I love,” he says. Nowhere is that more true than “Country As Fuck,” with a taut groove and loping gait tailor made for a 21st century honky tonk. Cauthen, Bedford and Burt play with that template throughout COUNTRY COMING DOWN, punctuating “Caught Me At a Good Time” with a sharp guitar solo, “High Heels” with a tasteful Wurlitzer break and the satiristic “Country Clubbin'” with a disco beat and chorus of female backing vocals.
But just when you buy in — and happily convert — to Cauthen’s brand of unapologetic hedonism, the soul comes out. “Till The Day I Die” smoothes his raw heart with the promise of true and lasting love, while the stock-taking “Roll On Over” takes a wistful look in his rearview mirror. And “Country Coming Down” realizes a dream of calm — although not exclusive of the next sojourn with “Champagne & a Limo.”
I’m always on a quest, sonically,” Cauthen explains. “I was wanting to go at this just serving the song, more, ‘What does this call for?’ rather than worrying about genre or sonic palette or any certain sound. I had a lot of these songs brewing for a long time, and we just let them grow on their own.”
His muse fully engaged, Cauthen is looking towards doing more of that in the future, with a few conceptual ideas up his sleeve about what he might do next. No matter what direction he takes, however, he won’t be abandoning that cabin in the hills or the “Country Clubbin'” life; Cauthen will just be adding more to the mix he’s stirred together.
“It’s just about looking at yourself in the mirror and knowing that what you’ve done to this day has been in good standing, with good morals and a good compass in life, driven the right way,” he says. “Legacy is all we have — that, and try to be a good person as well. If you get all that together, then you can do whatever the fuck you want and it’ll be alright.”
WCLT T-100 Presents
Aaron Lewis and the Stateliners
with Tyler Booth
Live in Columbus Ohio
July 2, 2022 4 PM
Country Music’s Aaron Lewis comes to the parking lot of The Bluestone at 583 East Broad Street Columbus, Ohio July 2, 2022. Tickets for the events will go on sale Friday, February 4th at 10 AM. Aaron Lewis has played The Bluestone many times since 2012. This show is expected to sell out quickly like years before. The larger crowd, outdoors with food and brew. Come celebrate Independence day with Aaron Lewis and more artists to be announced. A day of fun, patriotism, and most of all Music!
Aaron Lewis grew up in Springfield, Vermont, listening to his grandparents’ country 8-tracks.
Those roots inspired the multi-platinum frontman and founder of Staind to return to his origins
and since has quietly made an impact on country music without flexing to let everyone know
what a big deal he is. With a decade invested in a genre that’s seen him record with George
Jones, Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Mickey Raphael, the Cox Family, Ben Haggard
, Dan Tyminski, and producer Buddy Cannon, he has claimed two #1 Billboard Country Album
debuts for his albums Town Line and Sinner. Lewis’ single “Am I The Only One,” debuted on
Billboard’s #1 Hot Country Song,” only the time a debut has topped the chart since 1958.
The hard-touring, workingman’s star’s latest album Frayed at Both Ends was released in January
of 2022, his most personal and unplugged work.
September 15, 2022 7 PM
at The Bluestone
THE COUNTRY MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS LONG BEEN FILLED WITH ITS SHARE OF CHARACTERS. FROM WILLIE TO HANK AND DOLLY TO WAYLON, EVERY LEGEND STARTS OUT AS JUST ANOTHER ARTIST THAT DOESN’T FIT EASILY INTO SOME PREDETERMINED BOX. AND AS HARD AS COUNTRY MUSIC MAY TRY TO FIT MATT STELL INTO ONE OF THOSE TRIED AND TRUE BOXES, IT’S DARN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE.
Heck, he’s 6’7.
But more so than the massive physique that helped Stell become a collegiate basketball standout, the Platinum certified singer has proven via the songs he sings and the shows he puts on that he is far too powerful of an artist to ever fit into some sort of singular category. In fact, to describe Stell in a few words would be a complete disservice to the man he is and the artist he looks to become as he releases his new EP Better Than That on October 16.
“If you cut a groove too deep, it’s hard to get out of it,” he remarks with a chuckle. “I’ve never wanted to be some one-dimensional artist, and with this new EP, I think I’m determined to show that there is much more to me than just a guy who can sing a love song.”
Indeed, the Arkansas native comes from a long line of self proclaimed badasses. He can spin a romantic verse as easy as he can rock out an anthem. He can overanalyze a word as easily as he can let the melody ride a lyrical wave. And yes, he gets as much enjoyment out of discovering a hook in the writing room as he does hooking a fish.
“When you step out into that river and the salmon are still swimming upstream like they have for thousands of years, it’s a real cathartic, therapeutic thing for me,” he says of a recent fishing trip to Alaska. “It’s a great reset.”
In everything he does, it’s evident that Stell is reflective and adventurous and funny and pretty damn smart. And if he’s being totally honest with himself, he’s never been one to love a love song.
Yep, you heard that right.
Granted, it was in fact a love song that catapulted Stell to country music success in 2019 via his massive hit “Prayed for You,” a life-changer of a song that spent two weeks at the number one spot. As the only debut single to top Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in 2019, and one of NSAI’s “10 Songs We Wish We’d Written,” the hit has gone on to rack up some impressive stats with over 270 million streams, his first RIAA Platinum certification and more than 20 million views of its official music video to date.
But there’s a catch.
“If the only thing you’ve heard is ‘Prayed for You,’ you would have a different idea of who I really am,” Stell explains. “Knowing that you are making music that means something to people is the ultimate compliment, but there is so much more to me.”
A few more of the many facets of Stell are currently on display via his current top 10 and rising single “Everywhere But On,” a song that Stell calls ‘autobiographical’ in the way that it tells the story of a man trying to escape the memories of a long lost love.
“Having two songs on the radio is an incredible thing, but what’s even more incredible is finding your own voice and your own identity,” he says.
Stell showcased a whole bunch of identities in another Better Than That EP standout – “If I Was a Bar.” At a time when some of his fellow artists were perfectly content in simply sitting down with their guitar and playing their songs during the pandemic that Stell lovingly refers to as a ‘damn biological hurricane,’ Stell and his rather relentless work ethic turned out a music video that had him playing thirteen different roles in the span of a 3-plus minute song.
“I threw every stitch of clothing I have ever owned into my truck for that video shoot,” laughs Stell of the somewhat restrictive project. “Sometimes creativity benefits from constraints.”
Yet, there were few constraints on Stell’s songwriting during the creation of the new Better Than That EP, which was co-produced by Stell alongside Ash Bowers. Via songs co-written by Stell such as “I Love You Too,” “Chase It Down” and the title track “Better Than That,” the listener can still hear Stell’s distinctive way of wrapping a lyric around a memory and the twist he can put on a phrase.
“Songwriting is a craft that can get better the more time you put into it,” remarks Stell, as he laments to himself about how much he hates clichés.
But for the first time in his still evolving career, Stell relied on outside writers on three of the eight tracks of the Better Than That EP in an effort to fill in the blanks of the overall project.
One of those cuts is “Sadie,” a melodic brain-buster of a song that offers ‘a sparse lyric but one in which every word means something.’ Another outside cut is “Look At Me Now,” perhaps one of the most earth-shattering love songs in recent memory. Yes, the guy who says love songs aren’t his thing just might make history with yet another love song.
But before Stell looks too far into the future, he finds his soul planted deeply in the present. He is praying for the day he can plug his amp back in and jump on the bus with his band and play these new songs for a live crowd.
This new chapter in his journey leaves Stell with a whole bunch more ammunition in the writing room and a unique vantage point to view the characters in his songs…and the character he might ultimately turn out to be.
Maddie & Tae October 14, 2022 7 PM
with Sacha & Abbey Cone
Tickets purchased before postponed date are still valid.
Maddie & Tae‘s All Song No Static Tour presented by CMT Next Women of Country is headed to Columbus with special guests Sacha & Abbey Cone.
- Website: www.maddieandtae.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maddieandtae
- Twitter: @MaddieandTae
- Instagram: @maddieandtae
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MaddieandTae
About Maddie & Tae
Award-winning duo Maddie & Tae are drawing praise for their No. 1 debuting The Way It Feels album release with Rolling Stone saying the new music is “anchored around their stellar vocal pairings and some of the tightest harmonies on Music Row.” Together as longtime friends and music collaborators, Maddie Font and Taylor Kerr co-wrote 14 of the album’s 15 tracks including the Platinum-certified No. 1 country radio hit, “Die From A Broken Heart,” which Esquire calls “their finest moment yet.” The pair also co-wrote two brand new holiday songs to join a collection of classics for their first ever holiday project- We Need Christmas.
Maddie & Tae first broke out in 2013 with their brilliant counter to bro-country, the Platinum-selling smash, “Girl In A Country Song,” which took Country radio by storm, skyrocketing to the top of the charts and quickly going PLATINUM. The duo became only the third female duo in 70 years to top the Country Airplay charts, also earning trophies from the Country Music Academy and Radio Disney Music Awards along with multiple ACM, CMA and CMT Award nominations. Maddie & Tae have received widespread praise from Associated Press, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, The Tennessean, The Washington Post, Glamour and others. The celebrated duo has toured with country music’s hottest stars including Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley and more.