Paul Cauthen

My Gospel (Lightning Rod)

Texas Platters

Paul Cauthen walked away from Sons of Fathers just as the roots-country Austin duo began gaining broader traction. Now, his solo debut proves the move a step in the right direction. My Gospel lives on Cauthen's low and soulful croon, opening with the declaration "Still Drivin'" in a hard-charging rhythm reminiscent of Waylon Jennings. "I'll Be the One" unfolds his affinity for Elvis Presley, accentuated by the handful of tracks recorded at Muscle Shoals' Fame Studios, like "Be There Soon" unloading a Southern gospel flair with swelling backing vocals and legendary sessionist-songwriter Spooner Oldham on organ. The gospel tones inflect throughout, from the outlaw-chugging "Saddle" to the fervent swoon of "Hanging Out on the Line," the closing title track rising with earnest, burning emotion. Cauthen's style intentionally elicits C&W crooners, but his songwriting cuts contemporary ("Marfa Lights," "Let It Burn"), so My Gospel represents Austin's best contribution to 2016's country coup by Americana artists.

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