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Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away by Slaid Cleaves

Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away by Slaid Cleaves

Album Review

It is odd that Slaid Cleaves has allowed a bad but wildly popular novelist like Stephen King to write the liner notes for his album Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, since, as a songwriter, he far more closely resembles a good but much less popular short-story writer like Raymond Carver. Of course, when a famous person offers to write an appreciation of you, it’s hard to refuse, at least from a marketing point of view. Unfortunately and inevitably, the notes are written in King’s semi-literate style; at least they’re enthusiastic. Nevertheless, Cleaves continues to make like a Southwest Raymond Carver on Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away, his first album of largely new material in five years. People on life’s fringes — including a high-school dropout, a cowboy turned drug runner and illegal-alien smuggler, a woman whose husband is away at war, another woman who’s abused by her husband and takes her revenge with a gun, and an executioner recalling the days of public hangings — tell their stories or have them told by the songs’ narrators, sung in Cleaves’ drawling tenor. Love and money always seem to run out,…

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