Slaid Cleaves' Holiday Sampler

Slaid Cleaves' Holiday Sampler

Slaid Cleaves

Philo 11671-1236-2

Rounder Records Corp.
1 Camp Street
Cambridge, MA 02140
Phone: 1-800-ROUNDER (1-800-768-6337)

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By David Schultz

Slaid Cleaves is Texas singer-songwriter not known for his sense of humor. His albums are usually about pretty dire topics, sung in a solemn tone. On his Holiday Sampler EP, Cleaves delivers five songs that represent the holiday season from October through February, including two that showcase his rarely seen funny side.

This EP allows him to show off his sense of humor with a song like Monster in Law, his Springsteen-like tribute (think Pink Cadillac) to a creepy mother-in-law. Cleaves is quick to point out in his liner notes that the subject of the song bears little resemblance to his own mother-in-law. Monster in Law is an older song that, although a favorite of fans, has not been recorded before.

November Skies was written by Mark Farrington, Cleaves' Maine friend and singer-songwriter for his band Cattle Call. A touching song about the changing of the seasons and the growing up of a young man, November Skies ranks as one of the best songs I've heard this year.

One Good Year is a reworking of his #1 Americana hit from his 2000 album "Broke Down." The song takes on a bit more celebratory tone with the inclusion of Oliver Steck's wonderful trumpet.
You Don't Have to Tell Me is a lovely Valentine's Day love song that is affecting, without being sappy. Accompanied by only an acoustic guitar and a lap steel guitar, it is delicately instrumented, supporting Cleaves' yearning vocals.

Track Listing:

  1. Monster in Law (Cleaves)
  2. November Skies (Farrington)
  3. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch (Seuss and Hague)
  4. One Good Year (Cleaves and Brooks)
  5. You Don't Have to Tell Me (Cleaves)

Edited by David N. Pyles

Copyright 2001, Peterborough Folk Music Society and David Schultz.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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