Singer/guitarist Slaid Cleaves has found the ideal place to be "broke down" right at the top of the Gavin Americana chart, to be released Friday.
For the fourth week in a row, Broke Down will be parked atop the chart, which samples radio airplay of folk, bluegrass and alternative-country albums. The release is Cleaves' second with Philo/Rounder.
Produced by former Lucinda Williams guitarist Gurf Morlix, Broke Down has been hailed for Cleaves' evocative, at times Dylan-esque songwriting, as on the riveting narrative "Breakfast in Hell" (RealAudio excerpt). He also has put his own music to Woody Guthrie's "This Morning I Am Born Again" (RealAudio excerpt) and covered bluegrass great Del McCoury's "I Feel the Blues Moving In" (RealAudio excerpt).
"It's been a real pleasure to see the growth in Slaid's popularity since the release of his new CD," Rounder Records Vice President Brad Paul said. "The songwriting and production on this new album are superb, but what makes it really fly out of the ballpark is Slaid's vocal delivery. It's the kind of honest voice that brings you fully into each song. The fact that he is sitting on the top of the Americana chart, on top of some pretty heavy competition, is a further testimonial to the overall strength of the album."
Offering Cleaves some potential future competition, The I-10 Chronicles (Back Porch/Virgin) debuts, appropriately enough, at #10. The album is an all-star session, featuring Willie Nelson, Joe Ely, Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) and David Hidalgo (Los Lobos).
Sandwiched between Cleaves and I-10 are Jimmie Dale Gilmore, One Endless Night (#2); Rhonda Vincent, Back Home Again (#3); Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Billy Joe Shaver, Honky Tonk Heroes (#4); The Hollisters, Sweet Inspiration (#5); Wylie & the Wild West, Ridin' the Hi-Line (#6); Last Train Home, True North (#7); Jack Ingram, Hey You (#8); and Steve Forbert, Evergreen Boy (#9).