Album Review: Still Fighting the War by Slaid Cleaves
Excellent, Based on 3 Critics
American Songwriter - 80 Based on rating 4/5
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.
Slaid Cleaves Still Fighting the War (Music Road) Close up the honky-tonks. Shut down the open mics. Austin's Slaid Cleaves returns to show all who attempt the singer-songwriter thing how it's done. Not only is Still Fighting the War his most political work ever, in many ways he echoes the socio-political commentary of James McMurtry and Bruce Springsteen.
Although he’s plied his craft for the better part of 30 years now, it’s only been over the course of the past decade or so that Slaid Cleaves has come into his own. That’s aside from the fact that in 1992 he took home the prestigious New Folk Award from the Kerrville Folk Festival, the breeding ground for many an up-and-coming acoustic singer/songwriter. Nevertheless, he’s been making up for lost time in the last few years, and with the arrival of Still Fighting the War, Cleaves returns to the fore as a conquering hero, an eloquent performer clearly adept at his craft.