News Column

Affable Slaid can tell great stories

October 1, 2013

YellowBrix

SOME say folk music was what people sang and played before 'real' music was invented. At its basic level, a man (or woman) singing and plucking a stringed instrument is about as rudimentary as music gets and evokes images of wandering minstrels in days of yore.

That doesn't mean the material is any less relevant to the people who love it and, nowadays, journeymen musicians can still ply their trades and garner support, even if it's only from a select few.

Despite being around for more than two decades, New Englander Slaid Cleaves, now firmly based in Austin, Texas, acknowledges his own relative obscurity.

The affable singer-songwriter has an aura of quiet confidence that never even hints at arrogance but justly exposes his musical talents.

He's a more-than-competent guitarist and a proponent of the country-esque technique of delivering story-songs.

Brilliantly accompanied by Jojo Jacque on fiddle and mandolin, the show's highlight was the epic (and unplugged) tale of lumberjack Sandy Gray, Breakfast in Hell.

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