While we here at KUTX celebrate our 10th birthday, it’s worth revisiting the folks who were KUT 90.5 heavyweights well before 98.9 FM’s call letters were even born. Among that roster of Central Texas mainstays is a real character of the airwaves, singer-guitarist Slaid Cleaves. It’s crazy to think that his breakout fifth LP No Angel Knows came out all the way back in 1997, especially considering that Slaid’s continued to cut through the competition like a certain kitchen utensil. Which, to maintain a presence in the Live Music Capital for more than a quarter century, is easier said than done…even with a pretty consistent three-to-four-year release rate such as Slaid’s.
On that note, diehard Slaid-heads (including horror legend Stephen King) might’ve become bereaved by Cleaves’ lack of post-pandemic output. Good news! On March 3rd Slaid slides back in with Together Through the Dark, his first studio offering since 2017’s Ghost on the Car Radio, and celebrates with an album release show later that month at The 04 Center. As you can imagine from the title, Together Through the Dark champions empathy in uncertain times, mainly anchored by Cleaves’ idiosyncratic storytelling but also applicable to the sans-power solidarity we’ve had the past couple weeks in Central Texas.
However it hits you, TTtD contains some of Slaid’s most mature folk-Americana compositions to date and a beautifully flawed sense of human confidence we could all appreciate right about now. So if you want to be the first of your friends to get your mitts on the new Slaid, set the needle down on the record’s third single “Second Hand”. Like a vintage Plymouth carrying you across your routine stops, “Second Hand” steers straight with easily-navigable chord changes, gentle harmonies, and as with all things Cleaves, a relatable narrative. After all, who thinks being a thrifty family man is unfashionable?
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