Caleb Elliott's UK tour starts next week28-04-2023
Like the sprawling branches of a tenured Magnolia, Caleb Elliott’s sophomore album Weed, Wine & Time is beauty and grit personified. From the first track of the record (Sweeter Paradigm) Elliott lays bare a thesis of hope and healing that continues throughout the album’s entirety. Elliott’s opening chorus states that “you learn as you go along, simple as a song” and this theme courses like blood through each of the 11 tracks that follow.
Born and bred in a small northern Louisiana town called Natchitoches, Elliott was raised on traditional gospel and classical music. While these may not be genres he’s drawn to in adulthood, the remnants of a childhood spent practicing cello & singing church tunes around a piano with his entire family have bled into the musician, and man, he is today. Listening to WW&T is like watching the lives of Elliott, his family and his community. For Elliott though, it doesn’t stop at observing. Each paneled-song of the WW&T quilt is a study in adversity, followed by a friendly hand reaching out to help. In Sister (a track that processes his sibling’s cancer battle) we find yet another trumpet call for hope amidst pain as he says “Hold your head up high though the world may pass you by. Take care of the light that shines inside”.
There are songs on WW&T that began over a decade ago in Lafayette, La elegantly woven together with younger tunes crafted in Florence, Al (the place Elliott calls his “musical home”). The result is genre defiant grandeur that traces Elliott’s personal growth over the years of his life. There are veins of JJ Cale country, the soul-jazz of Michael Kiwanuka, and the lyric fragility of Sufjan Stevens crisscrossing throughout WW&T. With these songs, Elliott’s mastery of craft and nuance are on full display. Track to track, Elliott confidently paints with the full gamut of emotion. From the Spring lightness of the title track to the wrecking-ball weight of FUBC (written in honor of a lost loved one), Elliott grafts equal amounts of healing and hurt into the root system of this record. Elliott’s uncanny ability to marry ear-worm hooks with complex & honest feeling has made WW&T his most impressive album yet.
Recorded and mixed at the Florence, AL studio Sun Drop Sound, WW&T is the production lovechild of Elliott & his long time friend/engineer/collaborator Ben Tanner. Also lending talent to the liner notes are a cavalcade of Elliott’s music community that includes John Paul White, Zac Cockrell, AJ Haynes and Maggie Rose (among others). When combined, the resulting album has a depth chart of multiple Grammy and Americana award winning contributors.
Weed, Wine & Time is an album replete with soothing catharsis and challenging introspection. This is an empathetic album, penned from a wide range of viewpoints, that shows the ever-changing face of calamity and offers countless ways we can fight it. Elliott has written 11 songs that honestly reckon with life’s burdens while never leaving the listener in despair. WW&T, from it’s attic to it’s root cellar, is optimistic and encouraging. It does what all great albums do: It invites a listener to fall in love with both the music and the message. Between it’s joy, heartache, expertise and timeless feel, Weed, Wine & Time is a veritable gumbo of great music. It is a sonic dish carefully prepared with affection and served with the intent to move and to please. WW&T begs you to taste and see. Which is fitting when you consider that Louisiana-born Elliott believes “Nothing says I love you more than making someone a gumbo.” He has done just that, and it is delicious.
From next week onwards Caleb Elliott will do a short tour in the UK:
º w/ Jonny Morgan