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Slaid Cleaves

Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away ... (Music Road)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., May 15, 2009

Texas Platters

Slaid Cleaves

Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away ... (Music Road)

The reason Slaid Cleaves takes a long time between releases – Wishbones, his last effort of self-penned tunes, came out in 2004 – is that he's very particular about what songs he shares with his audience. This concept coats the entirety of Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away .... In a time where most discs have a couple of good tracks and lots of fluff, Cleaves' latest breathes polish and soul for nearly every one of its 42 minutes. The glimmer and shake of set opener "Cry" stands apart as one of this local songsmith's most lasting melodies without sacrificing its lyrical incisiveness. "Green Mountains and Me," co-written with old friend Dave Farnsworth and featuring backing vocals by Trish Murphy, flourishes in the kind of story song Cleaves excels at, and here he climbs the mountain with gritty charm. He captures stoners flawlessly on "Black T Shirt," while "Tumbleweed Stew" lassos 21st century cowboys with a glimmer in its eye. Even with producers Billy Harvey, Charles Arthur, and Gurf Morlix lending their talents, Everything You Love plays seamlessly, like one of Lucinda Williams' classic early albums, pristine, honest, and lingering. (CD release: Friday & Saturday, May 15 & 16, Cactus Cafe.)

****

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