Slaid Cleaves: “Texas Love Song”
It’s not very often that you find a songwriter that can make it sound so easy. Slaid Cleaves is one of those songwriters, and he’s been honing his craft for almost thirty years.
Though he was born in Maine, Cleaves is largely known as a Texan, but it took him awhile to make his way to the Lone Star State. He got his musical start by busking in Cork City, Ireland while on a study-abroad trip. His love of classic songwriters–Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Petty–informed his own style, and Cleaves released his debut album in 1990. He fronted the band the Moxie Men for a record, but Cleaves went back to playing solo–an acoustic environment that fits him perfectly.
In 1992, he moved to Austin and never looked back. He’s a mainstay of the folk scene, even winning the prestigious New Folk competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival. Many of his best albums are simply live recordings, and Cleaves showed off his performance skills not too long ago when he stopped by KUT’s Studio 1A with fiddle and mandolin player Wayne “Chojo” Jacques. Cleaves’s session included the brand-new “Texas Love Song,” today’s song of the day. It may sound effortless, but there’s a smart directness to it–his ability to find enough words that rhyme with Texas is certainly a skill in itself, and the melody sticks in your head like any good Slaid Cleaves song.