Cleaves song writing captured me when I heard his song Horseshoe Lounge back at the start of the 21st Century. His lyricism is succinct and captures you quickly and you know the characters in a moment, even if you did not grow up somewhere where there is a small service station or a tavern like the Lounge mentioned above. You know these places…..
“So here’s to missed beginnings and things that never start
For these are the ghosts that run around in my heart
When I see that where I’m going isn’t where I want to be
I get the urge to look you up see if you would come and meet me”-Horseshoe Lounge Lyrics
So here we are in 2017 and this new record delivers a dozen gems that are based right here, right now. Cleaves talks about how people are doing it hard but moving on even though life is not as simple or easy as they seemed to be decades ago. “Primer Gray” is a beautiful folk song for 2017.
“Old Guard” is a gorgeous country tune that depicts the movement of the hands of time. It is one of those songs that seems you have heard before and warms your heart.
He is a well worn poet and if you have not tracked down his music before this is a perfect place to start. This may not be ground breaking music, but it is Cleaves at his best, working the soil of the working class and the lovers who are not always doing their best.
Give it a listen, you will not be disappointed and I am sure if it grabs you at all lyrically and musically, you will be digging deeper into his other releases.
Ghost On The Car Radio is out now on Candy House Media.