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Well Hello, Young Man

By Hana Frenette

Not everyone can spawn a career off of covers they’ve done of their favorite songs.

Colin Caulfield, aka, Young Man talks about the technical uses of playing cover songs, and the desire to keep a diary. Two years ago, Caulfield was posting cover songs by Deerhunter, Bon Iver and Animal Collective on YouTube. Fans and friends alike expressed an attraction for the new take on the familiar songs and Caulfield acquired a following.

“I think a lot of people, when they’re first learning to play music, find it easier to start with covers,” Caulfield said. “Covers are a tool to get inside someone else’s head, musically.”

Eventually, some of the artists that were being covered by Caulfield came forth and commented on the videos as well.

“It was really cool to know that these artists were hearing the covers I did,” Caulfield said. “I didn’t really think anything would come of it.”

Around the time of the first and second cover videos being posted on YouTube, Caulfield also posted some original material, allowing viewers to see his musical evolution.

“The YouTube channel is kind of like a song diary,” Caulfield said. “I never really kept one, but I always wanted to. It’s supposed to be so people can see the growth of a person.”

Caulfield had only been playing music for about six months when he began posting songs online.

“I was really new to it,” Caulfield said. “Those were my first recordings.”

Those first recordings were what people seemed to really identify with and soon enough came the idea of releasing an entire album.

“My manager, now, got in touch with me and we started talking about records and EP’s and we started talking to labels,” Caulfield said.

Caulfield started making music alone in his Chicago bedroom, but by the time the records were being talked about, four other young men had joined him, turning the internet solo project into a full-fledged touring band.

Young Man toured briefly with Cold War Kids and Grouplove and even played at Lollapalooza and SXSW this year.

“It was pretty cool,” Caulfield said. “I had never been to a large music festival before and I think I had more fun than I thought I would.”

Young Man has also been working on their second full-length album, “Ideas of Distance,” which is set to come out in early 2012.

Before the newest album is released, Young Man will be playing several shows with GIVERS.

Caulfield explained what audiences might expect from the full-band shows with GIVERS versus a solo performance of his own.

“I’ve done some solo shows, but it always sounds completely different,” Caulfield said. “In general, just out of necessity, I think the shows will sound different. And I try to accept that, instead of just trying to replicate the sounds from the record.”

In short, fans can expect to hear familiar songs, with similar tones that they’re used to hearing from Young Man, but shouldn’t be expecting to hear a show that sounds like someone just pressed play on their album.

There may even be a cover thrown into the set somewhere.

“I actually just posted a cover a few days ago on the internet,” Caulfield said. “It’s the first one in a very long time.”

Sometimes it’s hard not to return to where you started. Especially when that place is YouTube and you’ve got fans asking for more and more. And more.

GIVERS and Young Man
WHEN: 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13
WHERE: Alabama Music Box, 455 Dauphin St. Mobile, Ala.
COST: $10
DETAILS: alabamamusicbox.net