IT WAS like a strange nightmare: in the middle of a 2014 performance with his band, Caleb Klauder opened his mouth to sing and nothing happened.
“That was a pretty scary moment,” the Portland-based musician recalls. “Luckily, I had friends in the audience who were singers who could come up and sing the rest of the night.”
Upon visiting a doctor, he learned that he had developed polyps on his vocal cords, and would need surgery in order to sing again.
“It was really emotional, but I had an amazing, supportive crew of friends that helped and stood by me,” Klauder says. “I guess I felt really embarrassed about it for a while, just because I felt like I had done something wrong—I’m not a textbook-trained singer.”
Luckily, the surgery went really smoothly, and thanks to the guidance of a physical therapist, Klauder says his voice is better than ever. He’ll soon be back in the studio to cut an LP (an EP with a couple of the record’s cuts, Just a Little, will be available at the show), and is happy to be back on the road.
A key figure in the Northwest old-time and country scene, Klauder has been playing ever since he was little.
“Ever since I can remember, I’ve been trying to make any kind of sound,” he says.
He grew up in a small community on Orcas Island, just outside Seattle.
“I grew up with everyone singing along together at community gatherings,” Klauder shares. “That was a big part of my childhood.”
Influenced by his parents’ eclectic record collections and his stepmom’s fiddle playing, he began writing his own songs in college.
“As a songwriter, I started really gravitating toward these simple songs, as opposed to complex music,” he remembers. “I like the simplicity of music that’s people’s music, everyday music.”
“Country music, it’s always been there,” he says of his love of the genre. “I don’t know what it is—it’s like it’s in my DNA,” he laughs.
Fascinated by the varying regional styles of country and Americana music, Klauder’s looking forward to this rare Southern tour.
“It’s like this cool, underground club in a way,” he says of the national scene. “It can be such positive music. Music’s so healing and awesome that way, making people feel good. It’d be great to see it open up even more.”
Keep in mind—this is going down at the Victory Drive Legion. With a huge dance floor and a limit to 150 tickets, get in on this special evening while you can.
“We don’t get down south very often, so it’s very exciting to be down there,” Klauder says. “I feel like it’s a little home away from home.”
Saturday, February 21, 8 p.m. $15. Tickets via honkytonkSAV.brownpapertickets.com.