If perseverance were currency, Caleb Caudle would be a rich man.
In the midst of a perpetual tour, the 29-year-old North Carolina native wrote “Carolina Ghost,” his recently released seventh album.
The recording, which he calls his most honest to date, has received national attention and frequent comparisons to fellow alt-country performer Jason Isbell.
Caudle will perform material from that album and more at Dyson House Listening Room in Baton Rouge on Monday. Baton Rouge band Elsah will open. Doors open at 6 p.m. The music starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.
The record’s 11 songs (including “Gotta Be,” “Piedmont Sky” and “Steel & Stone”) harken back to an earlier era of country music.
Caudle lists his heroes — Merle Haggard, George Strait and Randy Travis, to name a few — as he explains that simplicity is key when it comes to writing strong, honest country tunes.
“You listen to those guys, and they’re singing such great songs, but they still just seem like a bunch of dudes playing music in a room,” Caudle said. “We talked a lot about how to have it sound polished, but still feel simple in that way.”
“Carolina Ghost” represents personal change for Caudle.
After a stint in New Orleans that ended in 2014, Caudle moved home to North Carolina, gave up drinking, and focused on recording a stripped-down, honest album.
“I knew that I wanted to be myself without a filter and get to the core of what I do best,” Caudle said.
Caudle’s songs are driven by crooned lyrics and supported by a steady rhythm section, accompanied by picked guitar riffs and pedal steel lines. When it came time to assemble a band, he had a specific idea of what it would mean to surround himself with the right musicians.
“I don’t need the flashiest player you can find,” Caudle said. “I want players who can complement the songs I write.”
His band members, many of whom were friends of Caudle, include North Carolina music scene veterans, and others who cut their teeth in such country ports as Nashville, Tennessee, Kansas City, Missouri, and Austin, Texas.
“The shows have been different lately,” said Caudle, who has spent years traveling solo and playing accompanied by only an acoustic guitar. “Now that I can afford to travel with a band, we can replicate the sounds from the studio live.”
Early in his career, Caudle wanted to hit as many towns and play as many shows as possible. Still known for running the road, he said he focuses now on quality more than quantity when it comes to finding wider audiences.
“We are trying to grow this thing as much as possible,” Caudle said. “It’s always been a lot of work, but the work has changed — everything has a distinct purpose now.”