0 European release info

To our European friends,

We’ve heard that Slaid’s brand new iTunes exclusive single Without Her is currently not available outside of iTunes North America.  Our people are working on extending release to Europe and beyond.  So please check back in the next few days.  Here’s the link to the iTunes single.

Also, to save on postal costs you can pre-order the new CD Still Fighting the War from Amazon.co.uk.  Of course, you can’t get it autographed from Amazon – unless you bring it to a show!  Check out Slaid’s tour dates here.


1 New Web Site

Welcome, all! It’s a new day at slaidcleaves.com. Brand new web site. Brand new CD available for Pre-sale starting today.

Big thanks to Lydia Hutchinson at Performing Songwriter for putting this baby together. And thanks to Mary Gauthier for hooking us up.

There may be a bug or two to work out as we go live, so let us know if something’s not working or if you see a typo somewhere.


13 The Perfect Flight

You're not going to believe this story. But it's true. I was there. I kind of wish it hadn't happened when it did. I'd appreciate it even more if it had happened more recently.

You’re not going to believe this story. But it’s true. I was there. I kind of wish it hadn’t happened when it did. I’d appreciate it even more if it had happened more recently.

In the late 1990’s, I was headed up to Nashville for a gig at the Bluebird and some time with my old buddy, Rod Picott.  Karen dropped me off at the Austin airport that afternoon and I stood in line to check in.  After Karen drove off, it occurred to me that I’d left my guitar at home.  Oh, well.  I’ll use Rod’s.  It’s always stressful trying to get a guitar on board anyway.  At the ticket counter I was informed that my flight would be seriously delayed. The plane had hit a large bird on its approach to Austin, and the nose cone was damaged. They were flying a new plane in.  It would be a few hours.  I could rebook on a flight through Dallas, but it would get to Nashville at about the same time as the delayed direct flight.  American would buy me dinner if I wanted to wait for the original flight.  Free dinner!  Woo-hoo!  I was a seriously struggling musician at the time and I’d gladly wait a few hours to get a free meal.  So I called Karen, had her bring my guitar to the airport, bought a Time magazine and went to get my free dinner.  The gig wasn’t till the next day, so I was perfectly happy.

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23 Is That Your Real Name?

"Is that your real name?" I've heard that question, oh, several hundred times I guess.

“Is that your real name?” I‘ve heard that question, oh, several hundred times I guess. The first time, the phrase was not in question form: “That’s not your real name; that’s your nickname. Richard is your real name.” This came from Mrs. McLean on the first day of first grade, and it pissed me off. It was my first encounter with fill-in-the-form bureaucracy. (How many times have you been asked for your middle name on a government or company form?) I had been writing S-l-a-i-d on all my drawings and finger paintings for about a year now, and I’d never been called Richard a day in my life. I didn’t know how to spell Richard, and I didn’t want to know. I knew what a nickname was, and I knew that Slaid was my real name.

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6 Advice to a Young Musician

Eight pieces of advice for young musicians building a career.

1. Don’t believe the people who say you are good. Listen to the people who tell you where you are failing. You have to learn to be extremely hard on yourself in order to continually improve, or else you’ll just end up playing in your room. Everyone wants to be a musician, but only the ones who are self-critical, work the hardest, and stay with it the longest will succeed.

2. Songs are more important than anything else. There are thousands of great songs out there in the world. Why would people want to buy your songs if they aren’t as good as what’s already out there? You need to strive to write songs that say something interesting, something moving, something memorable, in a way that no one else has said it before.  In order to get good songs you have to be hard on yourself. One of my favorite songwriters, Mary Gauthier, says she puts about 40 hours into every song she writes.

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0 My Day Job

I found the perfect day job for a musician who needs time to make phone calls to book gigs, set up radio interviews and take a few months off here and there to do tours: I take drugs for a living. I'm a human guinea pig. A lab rat. A medical research volunteer.

A conversation last week where my wife Karen works:

Jim, Karen’s co-worker: “How’s Slaid?”
Karen: “He’s in jail.”
Jim: “For what?”
Karen: “Drugs.”
Jim: (Shocked) “What drug?”
Karen: “Anti-fungal.” Karen has a good poker face, and Jim is now rather confused.

No, I’m not in the callaboose. This is my “day job.” Every real musician has a day job, right? Have you heard those Austin musician jokes? What do you call an Austin musician without a girlfriend? Homeless. How do you improve the aerodynamics of an Austin musician’s car? Take the Pizza Delivery sign off the roof. And there’s another one I can’t remember where the punch line is, “his other day job.”

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0 Time for a Haircut

"Time For A Haircut." That phrase struck fear in my heart for many years. I think it was just the trauma of my image changing, however subtly, that threatened my fledging sense of self.

“Time For A Haircut.” That phrase struck fear in my heart for many years.  I’ve only had two professional haircuts in my life, and both were disappointments.  My mom took me to get my first haircut when I was 3 or 4, I guess. And she hated it, for some reason.  So she cut my hair for the next 14 years.  And I hated it each time.  I’d put it off as long as I could.  I preferred having long hair, even though I was almost always mistaken for a girl.  I identified with the hippies, for some reason, and wanted to look like one of the Beatles, not Homer Price, which is what you looked like when you got home from Reo’s Barbershop.  I was so vain, still am I guess, that I would avoid the haircut till I was forced into the chair, the sheet tied around my neck, my little brothers gathered around watching.  My mom would coo about how handsome I was.  When the orderal was over, I’d look in the mirror and be horrified, every time.  I don’t know why.  I think it was just the trauma of my image changing, however subtly, that threatened my fledging sense of self.  I would cry and complain that my mom took off too much.  I’d wear a knit hat for a few days.  Then I’d feel bad for my mom—she did her best, with love, and all I did was complain, ungrateful.  I felt guilty and vain.

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