By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
It is a gamble when an artist, who is known for a specific type of music, decides to venture into a genre. There is one question that comes to mind: will the musician be better or worse in their new direction? When Hootie & the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker decided to become a country artist, it was met with critical acclaim and admiration by country fans. The same can be said for Jeff Caudill. Better known for fronting the pop-punk band from the 1990s, Gameface, Caudill has a deep love for country music. After a successful reunion tour with Gameface, he is back with new alt-country EP that is inspired by Americana, Reset the Sun. He recently laid out his cards when I got the opportunity to ask him some questions via email.
B-Mac: How are you doing, Jeff?
JC: I’m good. Busy as usual. How’s livin’?
B-Mac: I am doing well, thank you. First off, congratulations on this EP. What drew you to country music?
I like the storytelling and the overall vibe, the jangly guitars. I’d say I’m more drawn to Americana than country.
B-Mac: Is there a specific brand of country music you like a lot?
JC: I grew up in the 70s with the classics. My dad listened to Willie and Waylon, Johnny Cash and all that stuff. I have a huge appreciation for that stuff but the thing that really did it for me were bands like the Eagles, America, Poco, The Byrds, Jackson Browne. That was the stuff I listened to when I first became a fan of music. And that’s what really influenced this record.
B-Mac: How has the fan response been like for you since you made this switch in genres?
JC: I’ve been dipping back and forth for the past decade or so, doing solo records. I just kind of go where I go. It’s hard to tell what fans really like but I have a small group of awesome friends and fans across the world that seem to really like whatever I do and that’s a blessing.
B-Mac: You recently did a reunion stint with your original band, Gameface. What was it like being back out there with them?
JC: It was great. The band did not end well the first time around so this was an opportunity to make things right. Ten years is a lot of time to change and see things differently. It did us well and I think we made an incredible record and we had a great time playing together again.
B-Mac: Your new EP is called Reset The Sun. Tell me a little about it.
JC: It’s a concept EP. I wanted to tell a story about someone other than myself. I’m used to always writing about my life so it was kind of a challenge to write from another perspective. It was kind of liberating to be able to fill in the blanks and just make stuff up.
B-Mac: What made decide to make a record that is Americana?
JC: I thought the story lent itself to an Americana vibe. It’s a road record, about struggling with forgiveness and starting over – and the idea that no matter how far away you go, you can always come back. Like all good Americana music, it’s something you can put on when you’re driving. It’ll feel like you’re on highway 10 rolling through west Texas.
B-Mac: Which song is closest to your heart?
JC: A favorite of mine is ‘I Wouldn’t Wait’. It was sort of the impetus for the whole thing. I wrote it a long time ago for a movie but was never used, so I pretty much wrote my own movie around it. It’s also the emotional center of the story.
B-Mac: Are you planning on hitting the road to promote this EP?
JC: Yeah, I’m gonna do what my life will allow. I don’t get out as much as I used to but I’m gonna make a point to get out and doing some solo acoustic shows across the country – and possibly some full band dates.
B-Mac: Do you hope to make a full-length LP sometime in the future?
JC: Down the road for sure, but I have a couple projects that I’m working on now that will likely turn into another EP or a single before I think about doing a full length.
B-Mac: What do you hope fans will get out of your music? Is there a special message for them?
JC: I just want people to relate to it and enjoy it. It’s just that simple really. That’s all I can ask for.
B-Mac: Last question. Who do prefer: Beatles or Rolling Stones? Why?
JC: Beatles for sure. Songwriting, songwriting and songwriting.
B-Mac: Jeff, thank you so much for this chat and I hope to see you in California soon.
JC: Thank you!!
It was great speaking with Caudill. He was a good sport to do this interview over email. Reset the Sun is a fabulous country EP. For all his fans who like his country sound, they are going to be most pleased with this record. As soon as he comes to California, I will be there front and center cheering him on. To Jeff Caudill, I salute you. Horns up!!!
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