Since 2000's Broke Down vaulted him to national prominence, Slaid Cleaves has released a handful of soulful albums. Good as they are, though, none have ever quite captured lightning in a bottle the way that one did. Be that as it may — who can predict when an artist will hit a grand slam? — Cleaves remains one of the most revered and respected voices on the Texas-music scene, and very much in demand on the national listening-room circuit. His latest album, last year's reflective Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, certainly stands head and shoulders above most of the Austin singer-songwriter crowd; think Springsteen's The Ghost of Tom Joad or Nebraska. Cleaves may not be a hair-on-fire showman like Joe Ely, but he has an unmistakable sincerity that overcomes any taciturn Maine-bred Yankee personality traits he exhibits onstage.
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