Photo's by Chris Linn for Steam Magazine
Photo's by Chris Linn for Steam Magazine
SONS OF FATHERS
By: Rachel Mills, Steam Magazine
Show Info: 12.7.13 @ GRUENE HALL, NEW BRAUNFELS
12.22.13 @ ARMADILLO CHRISTMAS BAZZAR, AUSTIN
Social: Facebook/Twitter / sonsoffathers
Sons of Fathers might be the worst opening act ever. Their live performance is so electrifying that even the chariest concertgoer in the back of the room finds themselves front and center by the end of the show, leaving nothing left for the headlining band to possibly follow.
Immediately they draw you in with a wall of sound that would make Phil Spector proud, two front men with an incredible knack for harmonies (think Everly Brothers – but with a Texicana/Rock twist), and an ensemble of aggressive showman who don’t stop rocking until they leave the stage.
Upright bass player and lead singer David Beck is wildly animated throughout the show, dancing with his bass - almost falling off the stage with his bursts of energy. He is starkly juxtaposed by acoustic guitar player and lead singer Paul Cauthen, a stoic presence and intensity that reflect his musical upbringing in the gospel choir.
As the band’s name suggests, both men have been strongly influenced by their fathers and grandfathers. Beck is the son of Bill Whitbeck, the long-time touring bassist for Robert Earl Keen. Cauthen was raised in the Church of Christ, where his grandfather was a gospel singer.
Seeing them interacting today, it is amazing to think that it was only 4 years ago that Beck and Cauthen didn’t even like each other. The Texas natives were competing for the same shows in the San Marcos music scene. “The day we met… we walked up at the same time to hand our demos to a guy at the Texas Music Theatre,” Cauthen recalled, laughing.
In December 2010, the pair found themselves together at a bar, on the last night of a Texas songwriter showcase in New York City. “We started hanging out and realized that we could work together,” said Beck.
In April 2011 they had joined forces with co-producer, Lloyd Maines, and released their first album, “Sons of Fathers” as Beck and Cauthen. Unfortunately, Beck Hansen vetoed their name in what the Austin Chronicle called, “The Most Ridiculous Cease and Desist Ever.”
Their second album, “Burning Days,” was released in early 2013 showcasing the growth of Beck and Cauthen as singers as songwriters as they departed from their country roots. “We knew it was a progress and the songs were getting better,” stated Cauthen.
“We recorded our first album in 4 days while [Burning Days] took over a year to record,” explained Beck.
Their break-out hit, “Roots and Vine,” has received significant airplay in Texas, and showcases the dramatic interplay of Beck’s tenor and Cauthen’s baritone voices in a galloping country track. The song is so powerful when performed live, that I have seen complete strangers spontaneously dance with each other, unable to contain themselves.
“To Whom,” is one of the last tracks on the album and you might miss on your first listen, but you will never forget it if you saw the way Beck sang it to his grandmother, who recently attended a show at the Gruene Hall, in Gruene, TX. Reminiscent of an Elvis Presley ballad, it has the somber tone of a soldier saying goodbye to his love for the last time that sends chills down your spine.
When they aren’t recording, Sons of Father’s is touring the country. Recently, they have played at Bonaroo, Austin City Limits, The Grand Ole Opry, and The American Music Festival. They will finish off their 2013 touring season with a handful of shows in Texas, including Houston, New Braunfels, and Austin.
After the tour they will finally take a break and then start working on their third album. Many of the songs have been written and performed during this tour.
In a departure from the first two albums, the third albums will be self-produced. “[On the] second album we couldn’t get the same vibe that we got on the demo,” Cauthen explained.
“[We plan] to have a single out in January and then start our Canadian/European tour,” said Beck.
Currently, Sons of Fathers also includes Tony Brown (lead guitar), Dees Stribling (drums), and Kullen Fuchs (keyboard, trumpet, xylophone).
Don’t miss an opportunity to see these guys live, but take my advice – skip the headliners, it will just be a letdown once Sons of Fathers is finished!