Monday, October 31, 2011


Sons of Fathers have come out of left field to make a splash among critics and fans alike, earning a feature in the Wall Street Journal. Singer Paul Cauthen discussed learning about music and life from his traveling preacher grandfather and, of course, the catchy harmonies that he shares with singer David Beck

Here's video of Sons of Fathers playing the title track from their debut.

Others have flipped out over the self-titled debut album, out this week, as well:

"All of the album's songs have the uneasy stillness of an echoing rifle shot… 'Sons of Fathers' features the Austin, Texas, duo singing and playing in a tight, heartfelt vocal style reminiscent of the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash." – Marc Myers, Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2011

"Their rich vocal harmonies are nothing short of moving." –Bruce Warren,, August 26, 2011

"Full of their signature melodies and the feel of Texas on the road." –, August 19, 2011

"A musical tour de force to be reckoned with… Great songwriting, great musicianship, and great collaboration have yielded a great album… Their consonance of harmony and musicianship would convince the most adept listener that the Sons roots run deeper than most artists dare to venture… Sons of Fathers brush with Texas Country as they ring in the epoch of an enhanced national country movement." –JD Duarte, Brooklyn

"Sounds like: Avett Brothers." –AOL Music, October 31, 2011

"One of the best slabs of country-rock we’ve heard since the Burritos stepped into the Gilded Palace of Sin." – Michael Verity,, October 27, 2011

"Incredible natural harmonies." –, August 26, 2011

"A great record… one of the best CDs of the year." - Thomas McAleer,, August 11, 2011

Here's video of Sons of Fathers playing "Weather Balloons."

Video of the band ripping through "Flatland."

Hear music or read the bio.

Sons of Fathers self-titled debut out tomorrow



If it weren't for Levon Helm, Laurelyn Dossett might still be one of North Carolina's best-kept secrets. Helm included Dossett's "Anna Lee" on his GRAMMY-winning album 'Dirt Farmer,' a surprise to her until its release, and his new concert album 'Ramble At The Ryman.' When she later opened a Midnight Ramble, Helm says, "There's the lady that wrote that beautiful song that sounds 300 years old."

This month, 'Dirt Farmer' producer Larry Campbell heard Dossett's most recent project, 'The Gathering,' a gorgeous union of Piedmont- and Appalachian-style musicians Rhiannon Giddens (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops), Mike Compton (John Hartford Band, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Elvis Costello & The Sugarcanes), Joe Newberry (Big Medicine), Jason Sypher (Susan McKeown), and Dossett in a cycle of original and obscure music capturing a North Carolina winter night. Campbell said, "The combination of heart and intimacy on The Gathering feels like a warm wood-smoke fire on a cold North Carolina winter's night."

Check out video on the making of the album here.

Stream the song "Lights in the Lowlands."

Dossett has also graced the stage of Prairie Home Companion, with her band Polecat Creek.

Yet despite her status as a national artist, she captures the visions, characters, stories, smells, and kinships of her home state. 'The Gathering' grew out of – and revolves around – a six-song cycle commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony.

She is a recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Music Fellowship. North Carolina's Our State has praised "that crystalline, heart-tug of a voice that still makes people weep," continuing, "Dossett writes about our South and our dance with religion and nature, love and loss… She’s become a songwriter people say they can’t forget." Another local magazine O Henry echoed those comments, saying, "Dossett has a gift: storytelling. [And] her voice is pure honey."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sons of Fathers in the Wall Street Journal

Sons of Fathers are featured in the Wall Street Journal today. Marc Myers writes, "'Sons of Fathers' features the Austin, Texas, duo singing and playing in a tight, heartfelt vocal style reminiscent of the Eagles and Crosby, Stills & Nash... All of the album's songs have the uneasy stillness of an echoing rifle shot.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Caithlin De Marrais "Belong" MP3

My favorite song on Caithlin De Marrais' (former vocalist/bassist for Rainer Maria new album 'Red Coats' (Nov 8 on End Up Records) is "Belong." Here's a postable mp3.

Caithlin describes it as "an allegorical song that carries a warning. If you love a sailor, you might lose him to the sea. And if you love an artist you might lose him to his art. Loss is a recurring theme in this album, and this song is no exception."

She continues "I sail and also have a deep respect for the sea. My recurring nightmares are usually about loss and sometimes about water." Other themes she sees in the new album -- "Memories. Abandoned places. Lost people. Loss of self. Finding tenderness. Fighting against total surrender. Surrendering anyway."

I love the tense, staccato rhythms of this song with her lovely melody floating above it.

Recorded at Saltlands Studio in Brooklyn, NY the way the song "Rocked and swayed a little in the studio reminded me of (De Marrais' former band) Rainer Maria."

Josh Kaufman (coproducer and member of Yellowbirds and Rocketship Park) played a vast array of instruments on the record. On this song alone he played the Juno-6, Casio keyboard, Rhodes electric piano, bass guitar, and additional drums. "His ideas were busting out faster than we could put them to tape," exclaims Caithlin.

The Village Voice previewed De Marrais' CMJ show, saying, "The former Rainer Maria frontwoman has a new solo album coming next month, Red Coats, and it reduces her old band’s emo-rock blare to a quieter roar, surrounding de Marrais’ uncommonly expressive singing with tense little clicks and buzzes, slyly destabilizing where Rainer Maria once aimed to knock off socks."

Here's some fan video of another tune from the album:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Caithlin De Marrais – former bassist/vocalist for "indie rock icons" (SPIN) Rainer Maria – is headlining an album release show to raise awareness for Walmart Free NYC. There has been some early buzz on her new solo album 'Red Coats,' which comes out Nov 8 on End Up.

The Village Voice previewed De Marrais' CMJ show, saying, "The former Rainer Maria frontwoman has a new solo album coming next month, Red Coats, and it reduces her old band’s emo-rock blare to a quieter roar, surrounding de Marrais’ uncommonly expressive singing with tense little clicks and buzzes, slyly destabilizing where Rainer Maria once aimed to knock off socks."

The NY Times also previewed the show, marking it as a recommended pick: "Ms. De Marrais, the former lead singer of the breezy indie-rockers Rainer Maria, offers sparse, elegiac pop in solo repose." In addition, The Times Arts Beat blog picked up a Tweet from a raving fan.

Time Out NY calls her an "effortlessly stylish indie crooner."

WHO: Caithlin De Marrais, formerly of "indie rock icons" (SPIN) Rainer Maria

WHAT: 'Red Coats' album release show

WHEN: 7:30, November 2, 2011

WHERE: Union Hall, 702 Union Street (at 5th Avenue), Brooklyn, NY

TICKETS: $8 in advance, $10 at the door

WalmartFreeNYC is a diverse coalition of residents, activists, and elected officials committed to protecting local businesses, creating good jobs, and supporting artistic communities.

A number of media outlets have covered the work of WalmartFreeNYC. Here is a recent feature article in The Brooklyn Rail.

Yellowbirds, featuring Sam Cohen of Apollo Sunshine; and Lindsay Sullivan will open.

For more information on Caithlin De Marrais, please contact Nick Loss-Eaton at or 718.541.1130.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Bug Music artist Kevin Gordon – the southern rock and roll songwriter who has been covered by Keith Richards, Levon Helm, Irma Thomas, and others and who has recorded a duet with Lucinda Williams – will release 'Gloryland' (February 14 / Crowville Media), his first new album in 7 years. It's a new high water mark for Gordon, representing his most powerful, fully realized writing to date. Early buzz on the album from Peter Cooper in the hometown Tennessean has focused on the song "Colfax":

"We'll empty your spit-valve for life if you find us anything more stunning than 'Colfax,' [Kevin Gordon's] undeniably superb song that could only have come from one mind, and from one person's experience. It's ostensibly about a kid in the marching band but winds up being about the heart of American darkness and the steel that it takes to move beyond."

Drawing comparisons to a southern Bruce Springsteen, 'Gloryland' depicts heroic and anti-heroic characters tackling choices of faith, individual responsibility, and the positive force of art.

Other highlights from the album include "Pecolia's Star," a duet with Sarah Siskind written in tribute to African-American folk artist and quilter Pecolia Warner; the bracing rocker "One I Love," reminiscent of The Hold Steady; the coming-of-age blues "Bus To Shreveport"; and the steady grooving, Dylanesque "Gloryland."

'Gloryland' was produced by multi-instrumentalist and Dove Award winner Joe McMahan (Freedy Johnston, Allison Moorer) and mastered by Gavin Lurssen (T Bone Burnett).

Gordon has earned the respect of press and his peers. Of Gordon's music, Buddy Miller said, "It reminds me of why I love music. I get transported to a beautiful, strange, familiar place. It's where the best music comes from. Deep and soulful."

HBO's "True Blood" licensed his song "Watching the Sun Go Down" and his duet with Lucinda Williams "Down To The Well" has appeared on an Oxford American Music Issue compilation album.

No Depression has called Gordon's music “dirty and beautiful." All Music Guide said, "Kevin Gordon has earned the reputation as a storytelling leader." Entertainment Weekly said, "He evokes the scorching guitar intensity of Springsteen."

Born in Louisiana, Gordon has a master's degree in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and he now runs a gallery of contemporary self-taught/folk/outsider/vernacular art in Nashville, TN:


  1. Gloryland
  2. Don't Stop Me This Time
  3. Colfax/Step in Time
  4. Pecolia's Star
  5. Black Dog
  6. Trying to Get to Memphis
  7. Bus to Shreveport
  8. Nine Bells
  9. Side of the Road
  10. Tearing It Down
  11. One I Love

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Video: The Bo-Keys on WNYC Soundcheck

WNYC Soundcheck aired a performance and interview with Memphis soulsters the Bo-Keys yesterday. Here's the blues "Sundown on Beale":

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Christmas music with roots this deep is rare. Appalachian- and Piedmont-style music talents Laurelyn Dossett (of Polecat Creek), Rhiannon Giddens (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops), Mike Compton (John Hartford Band, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Elvis Costello & The Sugarcanes), Joe Newberry and Jason Sypher have joined forces to create 'The Gathering,' a Christmas album recorded in a Greensboro, NC house in the woods during a hot August week.

The North Carolina Symphony commissioned Laurelyn Dossett to write a song cycle and those six songs form the core of the album, focusing on a cold, dark, North Carolina winter night and a prodigal daughter's return. Other songs on the album include Compton singing his former boss John Hartford's "On Christmas Eve" and Giddens and Sypher doing "O Holy Night" as a bass and voice duet.

Check out video on the making of the album:

Stream the song "Lights in the Lowlands."

The pedigree of the musicians brought together for 'The Gathering' is first-rate. Dossett's song "Anna Lee" was recorded by Levon Helm for his GRAMMY-winning album 'Dirt Farmer' as well as on the recent live album 'Ramble At The Ryman.' Her "Leaving Eden" was recorded by the Carolina Chocolate Drops. She has performed at Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble and her original roots music band Polecat Creek has appeared on NPR's Prairie Home Companion.

Rhiannon Giddens is a member of the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, whose 2010 album 'Genuine Negro Jig' debuted at number one on the Billboard Bluegrass chart and at number 150 on the Billboard 200. The Carolina Chocolate Drops have also appeared at the Newport Folk Festival, The Grand Ole Opry and in the film "The Great Debators" starring Denzel Washington. Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as "dirt-floor-dance electricity."

Mike Compton is a longtime member of the Nashville Bluegrass Band, has recorded with Elvis Costello, Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley, Dolly Parton, Gregg Allman, Willie Nelson, John Hartford, and T-Bone Burnett.

Multi-instrumentalist and North Carolina old time player Joe Newberry won first-place at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival and appeared on a Prairie Home Compaion with Big Medicine.

Double bassist Jason Sypher has performed with Irma Thomas, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, and Susan McKeown, among many others.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sons of Fathers bio

Trends and styles may change in music, but there are just some things that are timeless…like songwriting from the heart with ear-catching melodies and rich harmony vocals. The team of David Beck (a stage name as his real name is David Whitbeck) and Paul Cauthen has created Sons of Fathers, a band with a soaring, original sound that belies their young age. They have been compared to the Avett Brothers, The Byrds, and The Everly Brothers, albeit with an infusion of Texas grease.

Beck and Cauthen came together when each was working on a solo project in San Marcos, Texas. Though the two had met casually, a chance encounter at Thompson’s Island in a park on the Blanco River led them to join forces. Paul remembers, “I was walking in with my guitar and my writing notebook and Dave was walking out with his guitar and book.” As soon as the Texans starting writing and singing together, they realized that they had found something special. “We knocked out an incredible number of songs in two days,” says Paul.

Singing together came just as easily. “It’s the weirdest thing. The harmony is the last thing we worry about. We just fall into sockets of harmony naturally,” says Paul.

Originally called Beck & Cauthen, the group received a letter from representatives of Beck (the artist who performed ‘Odelay’ and ‘Mellow Gold’). “We had used the phrase ‘Sons of Fathers’ long before we wrote the song and we have changed the band name. It was a sign for us to change the name to something that included the whole band, not just a duo. We are all in this together and we all play a role.” Augmented with Corby Schaub, formerly of Ryan Bingham’s Dead Horses, Regan Schmidt on guitar and lap steel, and Dees Stribling on drums, the band functions as an organic unit.

Sons of Fathers is an especially appropriate name as Beck and Cauthen’s heritage has helped make them who they are. Cauthen, a native of Tyler, Texas, began singing in the church at the age of seven and learning guitar from his grandfather, a preacher. He says, “Granddad was a hell of a musician. He chose the Church of Christ instead of the church of rock and roll. I remember learning to sing harmonies in the bathtub at six years old in Tyler, Texas.” Paul now has a tattoo of his grandfather’s signature on his arm and says that his grandfather influences his sense of spirituality to this day.

Beck was raised in San Marcos, Texas, the son of Bill Whitbeck, a respected and renowned touring musician. “It was a different lifestyle for a young son. Dad was always on the road for business. We’ve learned from what our fathers and grandfathers have done and put those lessons into our lives,” he reflects.

The band also has tremendous respect for their matriarchs, having written the poignant song “Mother Dear.” David says, “We have really similar mothers, working hard every day, sacrificing for her kids.” Paul is also grateful, saying, “We both had solid rocks for moms. They were always there.”

The album has numerous other keepers. The rolling “Wind Turbines” is another album highlight. “It’s about finding who you are, finding your place in that. There are a bunch of turbines working and you’re just one of them,” says David. He came up with the idea for this song and the rocking, slide guitar-driven “Flatland” driving to a gig in west Texas. It captures the rhythm of the road and the wind-swept vistas only Texas can deliver.

“Adam & Eve” is a song of commonality and romance. Paul simply says, “Everything rolls around on itself.” The song may be among the most original metaphors for what it's like to find the kind of true love that is strong enough to beget a dynasty. Cauthen adds, “Written in Brooklyn, New York just before Christmas. Three heathens from Texas singing loud at a friend’s house in Williamsburg, harmonizing late into the night. Space Heater humming along, sirens slipping through the glass. Words from home, flown by doves came through the chimney onto the table, covered in magazines and cans. Sunday morning and Saturday night spinning in and out.”

“The Country” is a narrative about an interrupted rural existence, of a man forced to take a job in the city and his discomfort as he sits in his “ten by twenty room,” missing his former life.

The catalog they have written displays elements of all their most righteous influences. Be it a country shuffle reminiscent of Robert Earl Keen, an Americana folk song steeped in the lyrical weight of Bob Dylan, or a genre-bending tune recalling the Beatles, Sons of Fathers possess something unique. “Our favorite songwriters are the most timeless ones Dylan, Paul Simon, McCartney, Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. We also love the Texas writers: Robert Earl Keen, Willis Alan Ramsey, Roger Miller,” says Paul.

As they worked up their original compositions, they began to include finely tuned elements from their live show, incorporating tight Everly-esque harmonies and high energy live arrangements. In the spring of 2011, the band ventured into the studio in the hill country town of Doss, Texas. David says, “Being up there focused us and cleared our minds.”

Legendary producer Lloyd Maines joined them to co-produce their debut album. “Lloyd put the old soul way of doing things on our record, made sure everything was flowing,” says David.

For a new band, they have accomplished much in a short period of time. Most notably, they made their live radio debut on WXPN’s Free at Noon series in August, 2011, a rare event for a new band without a record out. WXPN’s Bruce Warren said, “Their rich vocal harmonies are nothing short of moving.” They have also played at the legendary Gruene Hall.

Radio programmer and media consultant Jessie Scott of Music Fog, who has spent her career bringing great music to audiences around the country; and Marty Schwartz, who knows something about harmonies having begun his career working with the Eagles and Elektra during the recording of ‘Hotel California,’ became involved after they heard startlingly amazing demos. Schwartz also works with McVay Media, a radio consultancy and currently with Gold Mountain Entertainment. Schwartz heard one song, Sons of Fathers’ “Adam & Eve,” and got on the next plane to Austin to see the band in person.

Soon, the music of Sons of Fathers will not only be timeless, but a timely reminder of how great music can be.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Candids with the Gourds

The Gourds on-stage in front of a packed house at Sullivan Hall on October 1:

Keyboardist/accordionist Claude Bernard takes on guitar and at the mic. The Gourds do a lot of instrument swapping in their barnyard stomping set.

Me with one of the Gourds' frontmen, Kevin Russell, who looks like he had a good show:

The Gourds at WFUV, where Rita Houston told the band, "Your songs are just so cool with so many twists and turns."

The Gourds at WFUV:

The Gourds with Rita Houston:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Caithlin De Marrais publicity photos

Here's a photo of Caithlin De Marrais with guitarist Seb Leon. Click for high resolution. Credit: Spencer Heyfron

Credit: Spencer Heyfron

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


The roots of Sons of Fathers dig deep, back two generations in fact to Paul Cauthen’s grandfather Jim Paul Cauthen. “My granddad is the force inside of me that keeps me motivated. He’s the reason I play,” says Cauthen, who was named for him.

He remembers, “My grandfather was a man of wisdom, who made the choice of the spiritual life rather than rock and roll. He sang in every Church of Christ this side of the Mason-Dixon line! I will always be grateful for the a cappella singing that he taught me. I learned harmonies when I was 5 years old or so, and was singing them in the bathtub by the age of six years old in Tyler, TX.”

Paul continues, “I was exposed to old gospel songs: ‘Wings of a Dove,’ ‘Old Rugged Cross,’ ‘Amazing Grace.’ Then he opened my eyes to Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Buddy Holly. He was best friends with Sonny Curtis [Holly’s lead guitarist] and he knew Buddy. Granddad played music with all of the old west Texas boys.”

He exclaims, “His voice was huge. Once, he was singing along in the audience at an Everly Brothers concert and they pulled him onstage to join them.”

Jim Paul was such an influence on Paul’s life that he has the man’s signature tattooed on his forearm. But his example goes well beyond music. Paul says, “Most importantly my Grandfather taught me how to live for more than myself. He taught me to live for God, family, and a good song.”

Sons of Fathers will perform at Philadelphia’s Tin Angel October 8; Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Bar October 12; Brooklyn’s Branded Saloon October 14; and Brooklyn’s Southpaw October 15.