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Cleaves Slaid

Slaid Cleaves – Wishbones


It’s almost four years since the release of Slaid’s last album ‘Broke Down’, so this follow up has been a long time in the making, and it’s certainly one of the most anticipated singer/songwriter discs of the past few years.

He’s one of the few artists of who manage to successfully combine East Coast style folk singer/songwriter story songs with country sensibilities, and while it’s easy to list him as an Americana artist, his approach is far removed from the usual fare as it’s articulate, considered and free of clichés.

Like its predecessor ‘Wishbones’ has a fairly downbeat mood, and is full of detailed stories of the lives of people on the physical and emotional edge – it’s not unrelentingly desperate, but few of the tales end with redemption or hope for the protagonist.

The disc gets off to a great start with an excellent sequence of songs, including the strong title track but the real highlights come from the fifth track onwards when the disc really hits the story song groove.  Alongside a cover of Rod Picott’s ‘Tiger Tom Dixon’s Blues’ are two exceptional songs, ‘Below’ tells the story of a village that was bought off to create a lake for a power station and has tales of the few people who held off and kept their homes.  This is followed by ‘Quick as Dreams’, a fantastic narrative of a tragic racetrack accident – it’s a stunning and poignant true story full of atmosphere and emotion.

The intelligent songs are matched by the production of Gurf Morlix, it’s mainly acoustic and electric guitars, and there’s plenty of variety from mandolin, Hammond, cello and violin (the strings on ‘Below’ are especially worthy of note).

Throughout the eleven songs Slaid is in excellent voice, he has a smooth delivery but with enough edge to deliver the songs with impact; backing vocals are used sparingly but effectively throughout, notably Eliza Gilkyson’s vocals work really well with his own on the title track.

‘Wishbones’ is an excellent disc that easily matches the highs of ‘Broke Down’, and this is an album that cements his position as one of the best contemporary singer/songwriters around.  Not to be missed.


Cleaves Slaid

CD (Cat No: 12192)

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