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Slaid Cleaves — Still Fighting The War

 Slaid Cleaves — Still Fighting The War (2013)

  Slaid Cleaves — Still Fighting The War
≡   Americana’s best kept secret steps out of the shadows
Birth name: Richard Slaid Cleaves
Born: June 9, 1964, Washington, D.C., United St
Raised in South Berwick, Maine and Round Pond, Maine
Location: Wimberley, Texas
Album release: June 18th (USA); July 1st (UK), 2013
Record Label: Music Road Records
Duration:     43:31
Tracks:
01. Still Fighting The War  (featuring Jimmy LaFave) (2:56)
02. Without Her     (2:42)
03. Rust Belt Fields     (4:11)
04. Hometown Usa     (3:53)
05. Gone     (3:11)
06. Welding Burns     (3:23)
07. I Bet She Does     (2:51)
08. Whim Of Iron (featuring Harmoni Kelley McCarty)  (2:30)
09. Texas Love Song (featuring Terri Hendrix)  (3:03)
10. Gods Own Yodeler     (3:50)
11. In The Rain (featuring Eliza Gilkyson)  (3:12)
12. Go For The Gold     (4:03)
13. Voice Of Midnight     (3:56)
Composers:
Track 1: Slaid Cleaves / Ron Coy
Track 3: Slaid Cleaves / Rod Picott
Track 4: Slaid Cleaves / Jeff Elliott / Mike Morgan
Track 5: Slaid Cleaves / Nicole St. Pierre
Track 6: Slaid Cleaves / Rod Picott
All other tracks: Slaid Cleaves
CREDITS:
Richard Bowden  Fiddle
John Chipman  Drums, Percussion
Slaid Cleaves  Composer, Hammond B3
Ron Coy  Composer
Sarah (Shauna) Dodds  Art Direction, Design
Jeff Elliott  Composer
Eliza Gilkyson  Featured Artist, Vocal Harmony
Mark Hallman  Bass, Drums, Engineer, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Mixing, Producer, Vocal Harmony
Terri Hendrix  Featured Artist, Vocal Harmony
Elena James  Fiddle
Jimmy LaFave  Featured Artist, Vocal Harmony
Lloyd Maines  Bass, Dobro, Engineer, Guitar (Acoustic), Pedal Steel Guitar, Producer
Harmoni Kelley McCarty  Bass, Featured Artist, Vocal Harmony, Vocals (Background)
Mike Morgan  Composer
Jud Newcomb  Casio, Guitar, Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Mandolin, Papoose, Piano, Producer, Synthesizer, Vocals (Background)
Rod Picott  Composer
Nicole St. Pierre  Composer
Fred Remmert  Engineer, Mastering, Mixing
John Silva  Drums, Engineer
Kevin Smith  Bass
Oliver Steck  Horn, Horn Arrangements
Website: http://slaidcleaves.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/slaidcleaves
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/slaidcleaves
Press contact: Tyler Cannon tyler@tcannonmedia.com
Agent: Karen Cleaves slaidcleavesbooking@gmail.com 
Editorial Reviews at Amazon:
≡   "When Slaid Cleaves wrote the title track for his new album “Still Fighting The War,” he had a specific subject in mind. Inspired by a Pulitzer~winning series of photos on an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD, he sought to address the plight of those returning from war and struggling to readjust to society. But as the album progressed, the phrase “still fighting the war” began to take on a broader meaning. “In the past, when I would start writing a new batch of songs a theme would emerge early on. My process this time was just to write as many good songs as I could, not concerning myself with how they all fit together,” he says. “But when I began to settle on the songs and the sequence of the album a theme of perseverance through hard times revealed itself. It runs through the album, as it carries into all of our lives. The recession’s over, but these aren’t exactly happy days. We’re all still struggling, we all keep pushing along.” Once called “one of the finest songwriters from Texas” by the New York Times, Slaid knows a thing or two himself about perseverance. It’s been 22 years since he first moved from his home state of Maine to Austin, TX, where he started his career playing open mics and barbeque joints around town before earning international acclaim for his “powerfully direct” (NPR) songwriting style. While many of the songs on ''Still Fighting The War'' focus on struggle and pain, the album, as a whole, is far from morose. Much like Hank Williams or Woody Guthrie, Slaid juxtaposes tales of working class woes (''Rust Belt Fields,'' ''Welding Burns'') with lighthearted wittiness and tongue~in~cheek humor (''Whim of Iron,'' ''Texas Love Song''), adding a sense of optimism and resilience that turns sad stories into a source of inspiration instead of despair. “It’s fun to watch an audience enjoy something light hearted between the workplace disaster songs and tragic love stories,” he says. After all these years, it's that spirit that keeps Slaid ''fighting the war'' and making some of the best music of his career. ''There's no better satisfaction than creating something new and then connecting with people and finding that your work moves them in a profound way. That never gets old.'' ''Still Fighting The War'' is out June 4 on Music Road Records, and was produced by Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Lloyd Maines and Mark Hallman. Slaid Cleaves will hit the road for a national tour this summer."
In french:
≡   Tres bon, comme les précédents, déja proposés...
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REVIEW
Written by Mike Berick June 3rd, 2013 at 5:17 pm
Editor rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
≡   An album populated with gritty, dirt~under~nails songs about factory workers, war vets, union jobs, small town life and derailed dreams might make you think of Bruce Springsteen or James McMurtry or Steve Earle. It should make you think of Slaid Cleaves. One of the more underrated songwriters around, the New England~bred, Austin~based Cleaves has crafted an exceptional set of character studies on his new album, Still Fighting The War that rivals his better~known peers.
Opening this album is the title track, an unforgettable tale of a war vet, where Cleaves masterfully mixes sharply observed reportage with moments of poetry while never getting too politically heavy~handed. The way he captures the physical and emotional scars that vets deal with (“Men go off to war for a hundred reasons/But they all come home with the same demons) speaks with a Woody Guthrie~like universality. This Guthrie~like quality also surfaces later in the disc when he tackles religion in “Go For The Gold” (which he previously recorded on his live Sorrow and Smoke CD).
≡   Cleaves’ portraits of blue~collar life are packed with real life details and memorable couplets. “Rust Belt Fields,” which addresses how American workers are struggling as factory jobs have gone overseas, concludes with the observation: “No one gets a bonus/for bloody knuckles and scars/No one remembers your name/Just for working hard.” In “Welding Burns,” a son, who didn’t want to work in a Navy Yard like his father did, comes to admit: “I always thought I’d get away/I thought I could rise above/I don’t remember anymore/What I was dreaming of.”
≡   With “Gone,” Cleaves expertly essays a couple’s entire life in just over three minutes. The song moves effortlessly from the two being schoolyard sweethearts through marriage and into the wife’s senility, all neatly tied together with the increasingly poignant phrase: “there she was, gone.” The sparely arranged “Without Her” is another wonderfully concise song (just under three minutes) that concerns a man struggling after his love has gone — either due to death or some other type of departure — and confessing that “Every night I lie awake/I’m overcome/I’m undone, without her.”
≡   Not all of Cleaves’ songs end in sadness and disappointment, even if they start that way. The small~town tale “Hometown USA” starts like an anti~“Born To Run,” with a girl who failed at being a star stuck back home in her small town and a guy who found foreclosure not success out on the range; however, the two wind up falling in love with each other.
≡   The jaunty “Whim of Iron” resembles a Todd Snider or Hayes Carll tune as it uses wry humor to tells its colorful story of a strong~willed woman who rises from nothing to became a successful Maine politician. Cleaves’ reveals his lighter~side in his tongue~twisting tribute to his adopted state, “Texas Love Song.” Texas also figures large in “God’s Own Yodeler,” Cleaves’ salute to the music legend, Don Walser.
≡   Cleaves and his trio of talented producers (Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Lloyd Maines and Mark Hallman) keep the album grounded in a sound that emphasizes his lyrical prowess and friend-on-a~barstool vocals. The arrangements stay on the straightforward side, although Newcomb adds some appropriate industrial (as in factory sounds) textures to “Rust Belt Fields” while horns underscore the sense of loss in “Without Her.”
≡   If Cleaves’ low~key approach has kept him under~the~radar, he deserves a higher profile. His keen insights into human nature and today’s America are revealed in melodic, deeply~felt tunes on Still Fighting The War, which ranks as one of the year’s best singer~songwriter albums.
Fortaken: http://www.americansongwriter.com/
Also:
By Alan Harrison at: http://www.nodepression.com/
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Discography:
≡   The Promise (1990 cassette)
≡   Looks Good From The Road (1991 cassette)
≡   The Promise/Looks Good From The Road (1998 CD release, plus three demo cuts, 1989)
≡   Life's Other Side (1992 cassette, 1997 CD release)
≡   For The Brave And Free (1993 cassette, 2001 CD release, plus six unreleased demos 1993~1995)
≡   No Angel Knows (1997)
≡   Broke Down (2000)
≡   Holiday Sampler 5~track EP (2001)
≡   Wishbones (2004)
≡   Unsung (2006)
≡   Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away (2009)
≡   Sorrow & Smoke: Live At The Horseshoe Lounge (2011)
Other contributions:
≡   Eklektikos Live (2005) — “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
≡   Dark River: Songs From the Civil War Era (2011) — “The Streets of Laredo”
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Slaid Cleaves — Still Fighting The War

 

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