Slaid Cleaves Releasing “Ghost On The Car Radio”

Singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves is releasing a new album, Ghost on the Car Radio. Cleaves last released an album in 2013 with Still Fighting the War.

The Texan has created some wonderful songs through his career.  He often captures the sadness of life while also showing a good sense of humor.  Rolling Stone says that the songs on the new album “reinforce Cleaves’ reputation as a master storyteller, one influenced not by the shine of pop-culture but by the dirt of real life.”

Ghost on the Car Radio includes the song “Drunken Barber’s Hand,” which Cleaves co-wrote with Rod Picott.  The singer in the song has seen a lot of the world, having had good and bad fortune: “I’ve drowned in the pull of young love / Known the high and the hurt.”  But at the end, he knows there is something wrong with the world.

I don’t need to read the papers,
Or the tea leaves to understand,
That this world’s been shaved,
By a drunken barber’s hand.

The pessimism and the drunken barber reference connects to the political situation of the world. Rolling Stone has noted the song alludes to W.B. Yeats’ “The Second Coming” (“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”).

Below is the video for “Drunken Barber’s Hand.”

Another song on the album is “Primer Gray.”  Here, Cleaves performs the song at Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky on October 18, 2016.

Ghost on The Car Radio hits the Internet on June 23, 2017.

What is your favorite Slaid Cleaves song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    Album of the Day: Dan Blakeslee “Tatnic Tales”

    I have been enjoying Dan Blakeslee‘s 2011 album Tatnic Tales. Blakeslee has a folk sound rooted in his upbringing in Maine, and the album includes his band The Calabash Club, a group that started out in a Dover, New Hampshire basement in 2008. Below, you may listen to the album (and if you like it, you may buy it or check out his other music at Blakesee’s website).

    The Calabash Club includes Mike Effenberger (piano), Nick Phaneuf (bass), and Jim Rudolf (drums). As for Blakeslee, he is not only an accomplished musician; he also is an artist who has created a large number of rock posters and designed the albums for artists such as Slaid Cleaves. For a review of Blakeslee’s new album Owed to the Tanglin’ Wind, head over to No Depression.

    What is your favorite Dan Blakeslee song? Leave your two cents in the comments.

  • Slaid Cleaves Releasing “Ghost On The Car Radio”
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    Slaid Cleaves Reminds Us We Are “Still Fighting the War”

    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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    Andrew Combs Need Not Be A “Worried Man” (CD Review)

    I do not quite get the album art on Worried Man (2012), the debut full-length CD by Andrew Combs. Is he cold? Is it supposed to be a picture of a “Worried Man”? I do not think the album cover adequately prepared me for what to expect when I heard the music. One thing I do know, though, is that it is the best album by a new artist I have heard in a long time.

    Because Worried Man came out in October 2012, I realize I am a little slow in discovering Andrew Combs. But seeing a video of Andrew Combs performing on the Twang Nation website recently led me to check out his album. Listening to Worried Man starting with the first track of “Devil’s Got My Woman” has been one of those periodic experiences that restores my faith in new music.

    Combs, who is originally from Texas and now resides in Nashville, wrote all of the songs on the album, and he sings with an ache in his voice in the best country and Americana tradition. The album includes heartbreak, whiskey, and pedal steel, and the title track reminds one of an old murder ballad (even if the violence stops short of killing). You can hear the influences of Combs’s heroes who include Harlan Howard, Willie Nelson, Mickey Newbury, Guy Clark, Jackson Browne, and Tom T. Hall. Combs pulls off connecting to these past influences while also sounding modern at the same time, as he does in this performance of “Please, Please, Please.”

    Every artist is different, of course, but for comparison purposes, a lot of the songs remind me of another artist I like a lot, Slaid Cleaves. “Please, Please, Please” sounds like it could be a great Heartbreaker-era Ryan Adams track. The song “Worried Man” sounds like it is off of the album of another Texan, Ray Wylie Hubbard . For now, Andrew Combs has made a stream of the album available so you can listen for yourself below Check it out.

    Combs, who released the album on his own Coin Records, also co-produced the album with Mike Odmark. Singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose adds her voice to several of the tracks. I look forward to more music from Andrew Combs, whatever the cover looks like.

    What is your favorite track off of Worried Man? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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    It’s New Year’s Day Just Like the Day Before

    Singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves has so many great lines in his song set on New Year’s Day called “One Good Year,” which is from his excellent 2000 album Broke Down. In “One Good Year,” the singer facing hard times makes a simple request asking just for one good year to get his feet back on the ground, noting “I’ve been chasing grace / But grace ain’t so easily found.”

    The song is both sad and hopeful at the same time. In the bridge, he notes “It’s a bitter wind / In your face every day;/ It’s the little sins / That wear your soul away.” But even with some sad stories in the news lately, all we can really hope for is that the next year is one good year.

    What are your hopes for the new year? Leave your two cents in the comments.

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