One of life's biggest curses is its emptiness: the emptiness that comes with being alone or unloved; the emptiness in the bellies of the poor; the inevitable emptiness that follows life itself, when heartbeats and heartbreak are replaced with an eternity of simply ceasing to exist. Perhaps that's one of the reasons that music is so vital — aside from helping us understand the fleeting nature of the world around us, it fills that emptiness with sound and makes mortality seem a more distant thought. Because only when it's quiet can we truly hear the noise of dying which, really, is nothing at all.
Paul Cauthen devotes much of My Gospel to exploring the fine line between life and death, offering up words and music that both fill the void and shorten the distance between breathing heavily and nevermore, going after the one thing that can destroy us before we're even in the ground: fear. Cauthen's a believer, but not devout enough to go blindly into that emptiness: This is his gospel, not anyone else's, and he knows that true salvation can only come with understanding and acceptance … not just from pages in an ancient book. "Be There Soon," a song about acknowledging our eventual fate — in love, maybe, but also that mortal curse — makes use of this soulful scorcher's most vital tools: thunderous vocals, a knack for combining the spirit of country with church-worthy arrangements, and an eye for seeing the horizon past the apocalypse. "I'll be there soon," he howls with the raw gusto of Tom Waits on Closing Time and the emotion of a man who sees the joy and the agony of knowing exactly where we're going, and how soon we all get there. For three-and-a-half minutes, life — and maybe what happens after — might not be so empty at all.
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