Texas singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves is one of those artists I really like but have not always kept up with all of their albums. I first discovered Cleaves with his 2000 release Broke Down, which is an outstanding album with a great title track. I have since kept up with some of his music, but not all of it. Listening today to to a stream of his upcoming Still Fighting the War (2013) reminds me that I need to catch up on the parts of his catalog I have missed.
As Iraq and Afghanistan have drifted off of our front pages, the title track to the new album is a sharp reminder that people will be dealing with the aftershocks of these wars for years and decades to come. The song “Still Fighting the War” was inspired by a powerful Pulitzer Prize-winning series of photos about Iraq War veteran Scott Ostrom who came back from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The song “Still Fighting the War” was co-written by Ron Coy and the album track has Jimmy LaFave on harmony. Check out a live performance of “Still Fighting the War” below.
On the rest of the album, Cleaves continues to reflect on the ups and downs of real life existence. “Welder’s Hands” was inspired by his father, who was a welder. In “Rust Belt Fields,” Cleaves sings about those hard-hit by the economy, and “Hometown USA” touches on broken dreams. Other songs highlight the singer’s aching voice singing about love and love-lost, like “Gone” and “I Bet She Does.”
There are some lighter moments too, and “God’s Own Yodeler” is a touching tribute to Texas singer Don Walser. One of my favorites on the new album is the upbeat “Texas Love Song,” where Cleaves sings about loving his sweetheart even more then he loves Texas. Check it out.
Still Fighting the War was released June 18, and Cleaves made the album available through Pandora. For a limited time, you may order a signed copy of the CD through the Slaid Cleaves website. Cleaves donated some proceeds to Operation Homefront. Good music for a good cause.
What is your favorite Slaid Cleaves song? Leave your two cents in the comments.
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