Backwoods Beat presents: Slaid Cleaves
When you ask knowledgeable music fans for their list of classic American singer-songwriters, it is a fair bet that Slaid Cleaves will appear on more than a few lists. Above all, Cleaves is a master storyteller. In his stories he describes characters with vivid imagery. The characters in Cleaves’ songs live in unglamorous reality. They work dead-end jobs, they run out of money, they grow old, they hold on to each other (or not), and they die. These characters include a Canadian logger whose gallant death is remembered by the “echo of a mighty yell”, a depression era jockey still grieving, after 60 years, the death of his young friend and remembers the two of them “sailing by on horses 8 feet high and quick as dreams”, and a down on his luck rancher looking back and wondering—“if it weren’t for horses and divorces”. With an eye for the beauty in everyday life, Cleaves tells their stories, bringing a bit of empathy to their uncaring world. His songs are short stories—stories worth hearing. And there is no better venue to truly hear these stories than the intimate 100 seat Muddy Creek Music Hall.
photo credit: Karen Cleaves/ Brende Fuller