The music of Austin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Slaid Cleaves is rooted in country and traditional folk songs, but it is unusual enough to hold interest in what appears to be a sea of singer/songwriters in the 1990s. His debut, No Angel Knows, was released on Rounder Records in 1997. Working with former Lucinda Williams guitarist Gurf Morlix, Cleaves combines his passion for folk songs, blues, and traditional country music on his debut into an amalgamation of styles known as "Americana" music. Not surprisingly, No Angel Knows rode high into the charts at Americana-formatted radio stations around the U.S. and Canada in 1997. Cleaves majored in English and philosophy at Tufts University in his native New England, and began playing music in garage rock bands while still in high school. While in college, he learned guitar, and later spent a summer in Ireland. He began busking on the streets in Cork, and that was the turning point when he decided to become a folksinger. At Tufts, he developed his guitar skills and studied the music of Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen. He recalled that he had listened to the music of Woody Guthrie, Carl Perkins, and Hank Williams as a child, so he went back into his parents' attic to discover a treasure trove of albums. After many years in Portland, ME, he sought new mountains to climb, and found some of them after moving to Austin, TX, in 1992. Despite the echelon of great singer/songwriters like Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Lucinda Williams, Robert Earl Keen, Guy Clark, and Joe Ely all centered around the Austin scene, Cleaves was able to make a name for himself there. In 1995, he recorded an independent album for Rock Bottom Records entitled Life's Other Side. In 1996, he began his collaboration with Morlix, who liked Cleaves demo tape a whole lot and ended up serving as producer for No Angel Knows. Broke Down followed in early 2000. The five-song Holiday Sampler appeared in 2001 from Rounder Records' Philo imprint, as did 2004's Wishbones, while Unsung, released in 2006, was on Rounder proper. ~ Richard SkellyPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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