Singer-songwriter Paul Cauthen recently shared “Resignation,” the second single from his highly anticipated sophomore EP, Have Mercy. Much like the commanding chain gang spiritual “Everybody Walkin’ This Land,” “Resignation” finds Cauthen and company (the highly-touted Texas Gentlemen outfit) further diving into dark tone territory with Southern Gothic accents.
“I’m a singer, not a preacher, but these songs are my sermon,” says Cauthen. “We’re ripping each other apart out there, and forgiveness and mercy are what’s going to get us through. I want to use my voice the best I can spread that message while I’m here on this Earth.”
He doesn’t play the part of a snake-handling Pentecostal preacher so much on “Resignation,” but there’s still an common thread on eccentric graveyard whistler. Written with super-producer Beau Bedford, the funky shuffle has Cauthen still pleading. He’s still delivering that message, albeit it creeps on through with a bevy of lenses and spacey depths. Where “Everybody Walkin’ This Land” found Cauthen pleading to get right and do right by your fellow man, “Resignation” is Cauthen’s plead for some form of freedom and free will. He’s searching to unburden himself from the struggles of the daily grind and worries of the past.
“I got to get out before they let me go,” sings Cauthen. His voice is still as thunderous as ever, but there’s a hint of worry and caution with his delivery. Lyrically, “Resignation” has Cauthen throwing heaters with plenty of internal rhyme, shifting of gears and ten dollar words. Still, it’s not all dark. There’s a Roger Miller tongue-in-cheek quick-wittedness to it all — especially Cauthen’s strong whistling chops two-thirds through.
Lines such as, “They say I’m crazy. Boy, they say I’m lazy. I better hit up Daisy and head to the last cold tavern tonight” has Cauthen channeling his inner Jim Morrison. In many respects, “Resignation” is like a second cousin to “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)” with its nods to late night drinking and eccentric qualities. It’s not just The Doors’ version though—there’s the spirit of David Bowie and Lotte Lenya’s versions buried deep within “Resignation” too.
Cauthen’s Have Mercy is set to be released June 22.