Slaid Cleaves: Finding Inspiration in Hope and Heartbreak

Aug 1, 2014

"Slaid Cleaves. Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Travels around. Tries to be good."
Credit Karen Cleaves /

Singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves grew up in Maine and now lives in Austin, Texas.  No matter his current surroundings, he convincingly sings about the plight of the working man just about everywhere.

Twenty years into his career, Cleaves seamlessly delivers snapshots of stories or characters that inspire his songs. "I'm always on the lookout for underdogs who need their story told," says Cleaves.

Cleaves also discussed how his title track highlights the struggles veterans face, and how his song increased his role as an ally and advocate for them. Cleaves' new album highlights many different themes, easily shifting between hope, acceptance, and sadness.

"There's an ancient appeal in my bones there for the sad song. And then growing up as an adolescent, hard-hitting, sad songs that sort of told my story or articulated the hard times I was going through growing up - those were very, very powerful and valuable to me," said Cleaves.

Cleaves spoke with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich and played a few songs in Studio C1 from his latest album, Still Fighting the War. Cleaves has an webcast concert on Sunday and tickets can be purchased online on his website.

"Still Fighting the War"

"Rust Belt Fields"