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Slaid Cleaves

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Washington DC, United States (1992 – present)

Slaid Cleaves (born Richard Slaid Cleaves on June 9, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter. He was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in South Berwick, Maine and Round Pond, Maine.

Slaid Cleaves’ music is marked by both the quirky blend of isolated eccentricity and steely resilience of his Yankee upbringing and the weathered soul of Texas, the state he has called home for over a decade now. First registering on the national folk scene by winning the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk competition in 1992, Cleaves released his national debut No Angel Knows (Philo/Rounder) in 1997, following a string of self-released albums and many nights logged in folk clubs as both a performer and a soundman. Met with effusive critical praise, No Angel Knows was followed by Broke Down (Philo/Rounder) in 2000, which expanded his audience exponentially by virtue of its exceedingly well-crafted songs and rugged Gurf Morlix production. In addition to the title track, a Rod Picott collaboration that won Song of the Year at the Austin Music Awards in 2001, Broke Down featured a couple of interpretations of other writers’ songs prefiguring Slaid’s later work, including a poignant reading of fellow Austinite Karen Poston’s “Lydia.”

Following Broke Down came 2004’s Wishbones (Philo/Rounder), a richly detailed exploration of life’s darker corners where still a ray of hope somehow shines. Wishbones climbed to the top of the Americana Radio chart coming in at #1 for 2004 while Slaid toured relentlessly promoting the album.

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