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Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away

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Album Review

It is odd that Slaid Cleaves has allowed a bad but wildly popular novelist like Stephen King to write the liner notes for his album Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, since, as a songwriter, he far more closely resembles a good but much less popular short-story writer like Raymond Carver. Of course, when a famous person offers to write an appreciation of you, it's hard to refuse, at least from a marketing point of view. Unfortunately and inevitably, the notes are written in King's semi-literate style; at least they're enthusiastic. Nevertheless, Cleaves continues to make like a Southwest Raymond Carver on Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, his first album of largely new material in five years. People on life's fringes — including a high-school dropout, a cowboy turned drug runner and illegal-alien smuggler, a woman whose husband is away at war, another woman who's abused by her husband and takes her revenge with a gun, and an executioner recalling the days of public hangings — tell their stories or have them told by the songs' narrators, sung in Cleaves' drawling tenor. Love and money always seem to run out, and violence is never far away. Drinking and drugging occur frequently. Life is hopeless, but people continue to live, at least for a while. Cleaves is particularly incensed about the wars that are luring young Americans away to be killed, maimed, or psychologically devastated, such that the political side of his work begins to recall Steve Earle. But it is the personal impact he is concerned with primarily. The stories are told over attractive folk/country/rock arrangements, which to some extent ameliorate the gloom. But these are not Stephen King-like stories of harmless fantasy-horror. They are tales of dead-end desperation told with the unflinching precision of Raymond Carver. Too bad Carver died 20 years too early to write his appreciation of Slaid Cleaves.

Customer Reviews

Amazing discovery!

Clever storytelling. Soul-touching melodies. Such depth with such simplicity. I am a forever fan!!


Lyrics are so simple but yet have so much meaning.


Born: June 9, 1964 in Berwick, ME

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

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 have held interest in a sea of singer/songwriters across the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. While he released a handful of recordings during the early '90s, he gained significant notice with No Angel Knows, which was released on Rounder's Philo subsidiary in 1997. Joined by former Lucinda Williams guitarist Gurf Morlix, Cleaves combined his passion for folk...
Full Bio
Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, Slaid Cleaves
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