Last Sunday, I braved the heat and got to see Paul Cauthen and David Ramirez play a show at Old Rock House in St. Louis. And I do mean braved. With temps pushing triple digits outside and no air inside, the ORH was cooking. I’ve been to Ozzfest in August, Pointfest in May and Hogrock in June, all outdoor summer shows. I think I may have sweated more Sunday than any of those shows.
Ramirez opened, and I was largely unfamiliar with his work, but thoroughly enjoyed his set. Lover Will You Lead Me was really his only song i knew going in. Ramirez was good enough I could see him opening some venues soon. I’d like to see him get a full set at the Duck Room or Off Broadway sometime.
As for Cauthen, I have long been on the fence with him. Same thing with Koe Wetzel. I never knew whether or not to take them serious. I don’t know if they take themselves serious. What I can say is, if you don’t take it too serious, Paul Cauthen is a damn fun live act. As I tweeted during the show, Paul Cauthen is if the Elvis cocaine years was a gimmick and Wheeler Walker Jr. wasn’t a gimmick. He is the modern version of Ronnie Hawkins.
Cauthen’s show is genuine honky tonk with tongue-in-cheek songs that look at the lighter side of the heavy life, complete with the boogie woogie stage act portrayed in his breakout video Cocaine Country Dancing. His other best sing-along is a song called Fuck You Money. Those two give you a good idea of what you have gotten yourself into. And that is a damn good time, if you let your inhibitions go a little. I spend a lot of time listening to heavy music. As BJ Barham says, sad songs make me happy.
If sad songs are the sickness, Paul Cauthen is the antidote.