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Slaid Cleaves 

When: Wed., Nov. 13, 7 p.m. 2013
Price: $18-22
On his new album Still Fighting the War, Austin-based folksinger Slaid Cleaves focuses his considerable songwriting skill on the working class, with stories of welders, bartenders, cowboys, and factory workers tucked in among tunes about lost love and Lone Star state pride. But the standout is the title track, a three-minute slice of classic Cleaves: mid-tempo, with a simple but memorable melody delivered by the man's fine-grit voice. In the first two verses, we're introduced to a soldier, home from Iraq for a couple of years but struggling with lack of sleep and support while fighting skeptical employers and banks, not to mention bloody, dusty flashbacks. The third verse, however, lands like a punch to the gut, as the soldier's troubles come home: "Two strangers, holding each other in the dark." Then, "all the happily ever afters turn to broken dishes and slamming doors." It's heartbreaking work from a master storyteller. BEN SALMON

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