Cheatham Street Warehouse Presents
119 Cheatham Street
San Marcos, TX, 78666
Paul Cauthen remembers sitting alone in an Austin house after a weekend-long bender. A life making music seemed to be slipping away. Wide awake with nothing to lose, he fell on his hands and knees right there, bowed his head, and threw down a divine gauntlet.
“I dared Him,” Cauthen says, recalling his desperate challenge to God. “I said, ‘Use me. I’ll be a rag doll. Just put me out there, let’s go. I dare you.’”
Most people don't plead in the form of a dare. That blend of vulnerability and brash confidence is part of what makes Cauthen and his music––which often hinges on the same paradox––so compelling. Whether it was by heavenly intervention or sheer force of will, Cauthen emerged with My Gospel (Lightning Rod Records), his mesmerizing full-length solo debut. Produced by Beau Bedford, the record is both an artistic and personal triumph. My Gospel captures a young artist in full possession of a raw virtuosity that must sometimes feel like a burden: If your singing takes listeners on white-knuckle rides and you write like a hard-luck Transcendentalist poet who abandoned the East Coast for the desert, you’d better do both. Anything else just wouldn’t feel like living. “I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do in life,” Cauthen says. “So I just kept on working. Even when I didn’t hardly have money to eat, my songs allowed me to get into the studios. I wrote my way into this thing.”
The album is called My Gospel, but make no mistake: These are songs about Earthly struggles to love, connect, and just get by. “I’m not super religious,” Cauthen says. “I don’t believe God is this guy wearing a white cloak who comes down with wings and beautiful sandals. I do believe that people are put into other people’s lives for reasons, and those reasons are unexplained. I believe that is God.”
HalleyAnna Finlay simply sings like her songs were stamped on her heart at birth. Evidence: The Country. HalleyAnna's superb debut collection swaggers ("So Heavy") and sways ("Fast Train") with effortless elegance. The album, which deftly spotlights her meeting point between Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris, serves as a shining introduction to a skyward bound emerging talent. High watermarks – particularly, "Back in Your Arms Again" and "Peace Is Lonely, Love Is War"– already show HalleyAnna growing exponentially sharp as a songwriter.
"Experience is what happens when you don't get what you want, so songwriting makes me feel better," she says. "Any time I'd go through a heartache growing up, my dad would say, 'Well, you'll get a good song out of it.' Sure enough, I really did. You can't write every single song about how somebody broke your heart, so some of the stuff I've done is more serious. 'Back in Your Arms Again' may sound like a song about somebody who dumped you, but it has a much deeper, eternal, death-related theme about meeting in the next life."
For the last decade, HalleyAnna has honed her songwriting skills at Cheatham Street Warehouse, the legendary Central Texas listening room owned by her father, singer-songwriter Kent Finlay. She now leads the next generation of compelling writers who follow James McMurtry, Todd Snider, Bruce Robison and others who started out at Cheatham Street. "I grew up listening to people who play music in Texas," says the youthful singer-songwriter. "I really love the traditional stuff that's going on in East Nashville like Elizabeth Cook and Caitlin Rose and Hayes Carll and Slaid Cleaves here in Austin. They embody the same traditional country that I like."
All personify the literate storytelling so identified with the Texas music tradition and HalleyAnna has put her creative writing studies to good use following their footsteps. Look for further proof one her sophomore effort (due in early 2013). Americana all-star Bill Chambers (Kasey's father) produced the collection. "Working with Bill is so easy and great," HalleyAnna says. "Bill came up and was here for the summer touring with Kasey and he had about a week window to make a record with me. He brought this really nice microphone that Kasey used on 'The Captain' and 'Barricades and Brickwalls' and we did vocals pretty much live. We cut the album in five days in the Wood Shed in San Marcos."
Brian T. Atkinson, author of I'll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt
Photo by Bill Sallans
$10.00 - $12.00
Tickets Available at the Door