Paul Cauthen lived at the Belmont Hotel for two years following the release of his first solo album, “My Gospel.” During that time, he wrote and recorded songs for his new album, “Room 41,” named for the room where he stayed.
The 33-year-old country music singer/songwriter plays an album-release show at the Kessler Sept. 6. After that, he’s off on tour to Germany and the West Coast.
Congratulations on the new album.
Thank you. It’s been a long, steady grind. One of these songs I’ve had for about 10 years, “Lay Me Down,” so I finally got that on the record. I’ve been working nonstop ever since we released “My Gospel.”
I lived at the Belmont for two years after a breakup. I’m glad I made it through. There were some wild, long nights. Let’s put it like that.
Tell us more about the Belmont.
It’s a creative hub in the Dallas area. You don’t know who you’re going to run into at the bar or on the patio. Jordan Ford, who’s the owner, has always enabled the artists and given them a place to stay when they could barely afford a hamburger.
I wanted to work with [Niles City producer] Austin Jenkins. I met with him over at Metro Diner. We had some breakfast, and we talked over some eggs. I never put any one person in the producer chair and said, “You’re going to produce this whole album.” I put the songs in the laps of the right producers. Nobody got an ego over it.
Who else is on the album?
Jordache Grant did all the keys. He really made the record his own as well. He’s amazing with his R&B background and his skill set. He’s the MVP of the album.
Who’s in your touring band?
Matt Pence, he’s a drummer and owns [Denton recording studio] Echo Lab. We have Ben Barajas on bass. Charley Wiles on guitar. He also plays a lot of songs on the album. Parker Twomey plays organ. Jordache is the musical director for the Addison school district, and he has to go back to school, so he doesn’t come on the road.
You don’t still live in a hotel.
No, I’ve got a condo Downtown now.
And a nice lady [stylist Elizabeth Nesmith]:
Yep. I ran into this brunette, and that’s all she wrote.
Your publicity bio says you were in the Smith County jail one time. What were you in jail for?
I’m in a public place, and you’re on speakerphone. Now everyone’s looking at me. Thanks a lot, Rachel.
Well, it’s in your bio. Is that a true story?
I was running around with some guys in a pickup, a Chevy Silverado Z71. We were smoking a blunt, and the cops found the crumbles. I got possession of marijuana. That took away two D1 scholarships. I was going to go to Texas Tech or another state school. We had just won state in football.
What high school did you go to?
Robert E. Lee High School in Tyler, Texas.
Things have gone pretty well for you without college.
Yeah, in 2007 I decided to get in a brown van and go to Colorado. I met David Beck in 2009 and started Sons of Fathers, put out an album. In 2014, the band broke up, and in 2016, I released “My Gospel.” And it keeps on rolling.
Why do you live in Dallas and not Nashville or Los Angeles?
It’s easy to get in and out of. I’m an hour from my grandmother, an hour and a half from my dad, 30 minutes to my mom’s, 20 minutes to my sister’s. I can go down to San Antonio and see my other sister. I’m going to get a ranch down south of San Antone. That’s what I’m going for. Get a ranch in San Antonio and raise my family there one day.
You played the Grand Ole Opry earlier this year. How was that?
Yeah, and I’m playing it again Sept. 14. They like me. They keep asking me back, so that’s an honor.
Who would you like to play with that you haven’t?
I’d love to play with Dolly Parton or Loretta Lynn. George Strait. That’d be the shit. I’ve played with a lot of my heroes. Kristofferson. That’s my lifetime achievement award. I’d love to work with Dan Auerbach or Jack White or that crew. They put out bitchin’ rock ‘n’ roll albums … I like nasty guitars. Rick Ruben, T-Bone Burnett. That’s like everybody’s dream. If I could work with Dr. Dre, that’d be the coolest thing in the world.
What are some of your memorable achievements?
Playing the Opry. Playing Red Rocks. Playing the Beacon Theater. It’s been cool playing with Dwight Yoakam. Learning how to dance from Dwight Yoakam.
Really? He taught you to dance?
He taught me how to do that side step, and now I do it all the time. I ripped it from him. He texts me every once in awhile. I really like him. Some people say he’s an asshole, but he’s always been cool to me.
John Daly called me the other day.
John Daly the golfer?
He’s friends with those guys at Winners and Losers [a bar in Nashville]. I told him he’s just a badass and that we should play golf sometime. He said we should pick guitars sometime. I said I’d love that.
Is there anything you want Oak Cliff to know?
Oak Cliff is a thriving Mecca for the arts, and I’m proud to be a part of it to write this record, and I couldn’t have done it without that part of Dallas.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.