Sons of Fathers (Austin, TX) Â follow up their critically acclaimed, self-titled debut with ‘Burning Days,’ helmed by legendary producer Lloyd Maines (Joe Ely, Uncle Tupelo).
The record’s ten tracks find the band’s deep American roots blossoming with vines of sonic Texas power, ragged rock, and punk defiance, all wrapped around the “airtight harmonies” (Austin Chronicle) of frontmen David Beck and Paul Cauthen. Maines put it best when he described the band as “The Everly Brothers meets Neil Young and Merle Haggard and The Clash.” Rolling Stone has already praised the album’s “wide open roots and folk rock,” while CMT described it as “rip-roaring Texas rock studded with gospel-influenced harmonies,” and Paste called it “soulful.” Â ACL FestivalÂ
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Trends and styles may change in music, but there are just some things that are timelessâ€¦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 Thompsonâ€™s Island in a park on the Blanco River led them to join forces. Paul remembers, â€œI was walking in with my guitar and my writing notebook and Dave was walking out with his guitar and book.â€ As soon as the Texans starting writing and singing together, they realized that they had found something special. â€œWe knocked out an incredible number of songs in two days,â€ says Paul. Singing together came just as easily. â€œItâ€™s the weirdest thing. The harmony is the last thing we worry about. We just fall into sockets of harmony naturally,â€ says Paul. Originally called Beck & Cauthen, the group received a letter from representatives of Beck (the artist who performed â€˜Odelayâ€™ and â€˜Mellow Goldâ€™). â€œWe had used the phrase â€˜Sons of Fathersâ€™ 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.â€
Augmented with Regan Schmidt on guitar and lap steel, Dan Cohen on guitar and mandolin, and Dees Stribling on drums, the band functions as an organic unit. Sons of Fathers is an especially appropriate name as Beck and Cauthenâ€™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, â€œGranddad 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.â€ Paul now has a tattoo of his grandfatherâ€™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. â€œIt was a different lifestyle for a young son. Dad was always on the road for business. Weâ€™ve learned from what our fathers and grandfathers have done and put those lessons into our lives,â€ he reflects. 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. â€œOur 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,â€ 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, â€œBeing up there focused us and cleared our minds.â€ Legendary producer Lloyd Maines joined them to co-produce their debut album. â€œLloyd put the old soul way of doing things on our record, made sure everything was flowing,â€ 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 WXPNâ€™s Free at Noon series in August, 2011, a rare event for a new band without a record out. WXPNâ€™s Bruce Warren said, â€œTheir rich vocal harmonies are nothing short of moving.â€ 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 â€˜Hotel California,â€™ 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 Fathersâ€™ â€œAdam & Eve,â€ 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.
â€œ I have the luxury, upon discovery of any twist or turn in the road, to share something new and exciting – even if I don’t know much about the act or their background. Such is the case today. This is great, great fare – and a relative mystery to me… Paul Cauthen’s granddad, a preacher, taught him to sing and play guitar while Dave Beck earned an upright 1950 Kay bass from his father, a world-traveling Texas musician. The two met when each brought their guitars and writing notebooks to a park in San Marcos, TX, walking to an island by a waterfall, and quickly discovered that their voices fit into incredible natural harmonies. According to the duo’s facebook and twitter pages, they now work and reside in Austin. If the title track is representational of what we can expect, we should all be very excited… Certainly One to Watch! â€
Ryan Spaulding – New Music You Need to Hear