Singer/songwriter Slaid Cleaves will open the 2012-13 Winter Wind concert season on Sunday, October 7. Doors open at 6:15 for the 7:00pm concert in the historic Norman Depot, 200 S. Jones. General admission tickets are $20. Advance purchase is recommended.
At seven lines and a tight 19 words, the definitive Slaid Cleaves bio — written with humble but poetic economy by the artist himself — neatly sums up everything you really need to know about the man: Slaid Cleaves. Grew up in Maine. Lives in Texas. Writes songs. Makes Records. Travels around. Tries to be good.
Cleaves got his start making music in his garage band in high school and took his love of music with him while abroad in Ireland during his junior year of college, working as a “busker” singing on the streets of Cork, Ireland.
After returning from Ireland, he released his first debut cassette, The Promise, and a year later Looks Good from the Road, recorded with his rock band The Moxie Men. By the end of the year, the band was the darling of the Portland, Maine press and touted as one of the bands "most likely to succeed." There he rose swiftly through the ranks of the local singer/songwriter scene.
When Slaid Cleaves moved from Portland, Maine, to Austin, Texas, at the tail end of 1991, he landed on South Lamar Boulevard, a few blocks from the legendarily seedy Horseshoe Lounge. But as he points out on his new live album, “It was many years of drivin’ by before I worked up the courage to come in through the door.”
Maybe his New Englander’s reserve got the better of him; one thing most Texans do not fear is walking into a bar. But curiosity and, no doubt, the lure of stories contained within eventually won out, and in 2000, Slaid wound up releasing Horseshoe Lounge, an ode to the 46-year-old beer joint, on his breakout CD Broke Down. A turning point in his career, Broke Down transformed Cleaves from feckless Austin singer/songwriter, playing open mics and running sound at the legendary Cactus Cafe to Americana chart-topping, New York Times-lauded (“One of the finest songwriters from Texas”) national touring artist. The 2001 Austin Music Awards named the title track, written with childhood pal Rod Picott, Best Song of the Year.
PAS office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 2 pm. For more information about Winter Wind or other PAS programs, call 307-9320.
Winter Wind Concerts are made possible, in part, by grants from the Norman Arts Council and the Oklahoma Arts Council, by sponsors Tom McAuliffe of Don Cies Real Estate; Cindy Merrick of Therapy in Motion, and Nancy McClellan. Additional support comes from contributors Glen Brown; Skye Diers, Gingerbread Nursery School; Hugh and Keri Young; Dale Wares, Wares Properties; and Danna Primm. Friends include Marie Soliel, Tom & Mary Cay Woodfin; and The Grider Family. In-kind support comes from Cafe Plaid, The Montford Inn, and others.