Slaid Cleaves

Sorrow & Smoke – Live at the Horseshoe Lounge (Music Road)

Texas Platters

Slaid Cleaves

Sorrow & Smoke – Live at the Horseshoe Lounge (Music Road)

Of all the singer-songwriters to come out of Texas in the past 20 years, few if any approach the lyrical and melodic consistency of Slaid Cleaves. Sorrow & Smoke, a 2-CD set, is further evidence of his ability to capture glimpses of workaday American life in a concise yet absorbing manner, this time in front of an audience. Cleaves chose to record at the Horseshoe Lounge, a South Austin dive that doesn't ordinarily have live music, because he hoped the unusual setting would inspire magic as well as it providing the title of one his songs. In a trio setting including lead guitarist Michael O'Connor and Oliver Steck on accordion, trumpet, and harmonica, Cleaves' songs still breathe with surprising clarity, plus his jovial nature shines through on the between-song banter and audience interaction. Eighteen of the 21 tunes are originals, but Karen Poston's mournful "Lydia" and a two-song tribute to "mentor and hero" Don Walser, wherein Cleaves shows off his yodeling skills, also exhibit his talent. Besides being a formidable live set, Sorrow & Smoke serves as a well-thought-out best-of, from "Broke Down" to "One Good Year." It's sure to be a fan favorite and a terrific starting point for the uninitiated.

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Slaid Cleaves
Texas Platters
Slaid Cleaves
Ghost on the Car Radio (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, July 14, 2017

Texas Platters
Slaid Cleaves
Still Fighting the War (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, June 14, 2013

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Slaid Cleaves

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle