Slaid Cleaves

With a name from straight out of a Cormac McCarthy novel and the rumpled hair and tired eyes of a third-place demolition-derby driver, Slaid Cleaves had to be a Texas songwriter — even if he did grow up in Maine. In the tradition of James McMurtry and Guy Clark, his songs include stories. He even posts the ones that won’t fit the traditional verse-chorus-verse mode on his Web site. Cleaves understands drinkers down to their last gulp, knows the plights of razor-scarred addicts tossing up desperate prayers, and even has words about grandpas carefully shepherding grandkids at Six Flags. His songs (and the double-pocketful of his buddies’ songs covered on his latest, Unsung) are the kind that simply take up residence in your head.

Categories: Music