Slaid Cleaves. Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Makes records. Travels around. Tries to be good.
Slaid Cleaves spins stories with a novelist’s eye and a poet’s heart. Twenty years into his career, the celebrated songwriter’s Still Fighting the War spotlights an artist in peak form. Cleaves’ seamless new collection delivers vivid snapshots as wildly cinematic as they are carefully chiseled. Dress William Faulkner with faded jeans and a worn six-string for a good idea. “Slaid’s a craftsman,” says Terri Hendrix, who sings harmony on “Texas Love Song.” “He goes about his songs like a woodworker.”
Accordingly, Cleaves’ earthy narratives stand oak strong. “Men go off to war for a hundred reasons/But they all come home with the same demons,” he sings on the album’s title track. “Some you can keep at bay for a while/Some will pin you to the floor/You’ve been home for a couple of years now, buddy/But you’re still fighting the war.” Few writers frame bruised souls as clearly. Fewer still deliver a punch with such striking immediacy.
"I’m glad I found Slaid Cleaves, because my life would have been poorer without him. You’ll feel the same, I think, when you listen to this beautifully crafted album. Listen, go to one of Slaid’s shows, take a friend, and pass on the news: not all the good guys wear hats." - Stephen King