Slaid Cleaves

Ghost on the Car Radio (Proper)

Texas Platters

Slaid Cleaves feels the inevitable slide of time, but there's still beauty to behold in its passing. A master of simple melody and sharp lyrics, the veteran singer-songwriter captures every slight nuance in the setting sun even as Ghost on the Car Radio layers melancholic. Unlike the sociopolitical punch of 2013 standout Still Fighting the War, the Austinite's latest LP strikes more personal and passive. Opener "Already Gone" roars riffs like a road-worn take on the Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care," and the dark shanty rhythm of "Drunken Barber's Hand" comes closest to addressing civics, but "If I Had a Heart" underlines the disc's reflective pull in the contrast between youthful idealism and aged realism. "Little Guys" thus unfolds classic Cleaves, mourning the loss of mom-and-pop endeavors to progress, while "Primer Gray" steels against modern "flash and shine" and "Hickory" declares, "They'll cut down the trees and name your new streets Hickory, Walnut, and Pine." Loosening up the backside, "So Good to Me" holds tightly to love with pop assistance from Fast­ball's Miles Zuniga, and Scrappy Jud Newcomb's touching guitar accents a gorgeous "To Be Held" and Graham Web­er co-write "Still Be Mine." In closing, "Junkyard" bids a gruff-voiced lay-me-down-to-rust farewell, but even as the world decays, Ghost on the Car Radio will haunt your own personal Top 40.

****


CD release: Stateside at the Paramount, Sunday, July 16.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 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
Still Fighting the War (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, June 14, 2013

Texas Platters
Slaid Cleaves
Sorrow & Smoke – Live at the Horseshoe Lounge (Record Review)

Jim Caligiuri, Sept. 2, 2011

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 Doug Freeman
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Nov. 27, 2020

New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re listening to

Nov. 20, 2020

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

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

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