With four or five years between albums of original songs, Slaid Cleaves isn't one of the more prolific singer-songwriters on the circuit today. But, the songs on Slaid's new CD, Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, were worth the wait.
"Dreams" is just one of the 10 songs Slaid Cleaves wrote for Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, his first collection of original material since 2004's "Wishbones."
When asked about the dour title, Slaid explained that some of the songs on the album were inspired by a new exercise program. In 2007, he began running to improve his health.
"We live next door to a cemetery," he said. "And I was running through the cemetery. I was running past gravestones on my daily run. And I just started noticing inscriptions on the tombstones, epitaphs. I started to get interested in epitaphs. I went online and found these [web]sites where they list epitaphs from cemeteries. The ones I was looking at were in New England from the 1700s. And I just found some really cool words. One of the songs on this record, two of the three verses are entirely lifted from gravestone epitaphs. So, that's how thematically the album began."
That song is called Temporary.
The way this album was produced is just as unusual as its inspiration. By the time he finished recording Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, Slaid had worked with three different producers. The project started with Gurf Morlix in charge.
"I ended up getting, I think, eight or nine songs with Gurf just great," he said. "But there were a couple "trouble songs" that just weren't working. They were o.k., but I wanted something different. So I brought a couple of songs to my old buddy Charles Arthur in Virginia, and we did a few there. But there was still one, after four tries that I was just convinced could be better. Even though it was really good, and people liked it, I just had a different vision for this one song called 'Cry.' And I ended up calling a guy that I met 12 years ago, I think. And I hadn't seen him in 10 years. His name is Billy Harvey, and he's a producer in town … a brilliant, creative, producer, guitar player and songwriter. And so he did the final version of Cry. So there are three producers on the record, it was an all-year project!"
Following the U.S. release of Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, Slaid will spend the next several months touring North America before setting off on a tour of the U.K. and Holland in October. For more information, visit his website at http://www.slaid.com.
The only cover song on Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away" is a Ray Bonneville track, Run Jolee Run. It's a song Slaid wanted to put on his last CD, Unsung, but he just couldn't get the right sound until now.