Country singer Slaid Cleaves rocking Iron Horse tonight

By Acacia DiCiaccio

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Austin-based singer and songwriter Slaid Cleaves and locally-grown musician Jason Myles Goss will perform at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Thursday, Oct. 13. It is rare that fans of the lesser-known country artists have a chance to witness such talented musicians under one roof.

Country folk artist Slaid Cleaves’ claim to fame includes six studio albums recorded throughout the span of his 14-year career. Cleaves’ current tour is promoting his first live album, titled “Sorrow and Smoke: Live at the Horseshoe Lounge.” “Horseshoe Lounge” must be dear to Cleaves’ heart, because he also wrote a song that depicts the lounge on his 2000 album, “Broke Down.” “Horseshoe Lounge” includes many fan favorites, but excludes anything from his older records.

It is hard not to get hooked on Slaid Cleaves’ old-school country style that burrows deep to the roots of American tradition. Cleaves’ music is more easily comparable to Johnny Cash than generic pop-country that sells today. Someone as talented as Slaid Cleaves must be given a chance before judgments are made on the artist’s genre. His songwriting also combines folk with a bit of Southern twang for a sound not often found at the Country Music Awards.

Jason Myles Goss, the show’s opening act, is a Massachusetts native who has gained recognition through his emotive songwriting and soothing voice. Goss’ latest album, “A Plea for Dreamland,” was released in 2009, but the musician intends to put out another full-length album in early 2012. On Thursday, concert attendees can excitedly anticipate some new tunes from Goss’ unreleased album.

Goss became involved with music as a child living at his parents’ home in Hopedale. His interest bloomed into devotion, and he eventually recorded his first album while attending college in 2003. Goss’ sound is similar to that of Cleaves in the sense that both musicians permeate a desire for fun and simplicity. Unlike many others before him, Goss has the ability to make a dive bar’s usual jukebox transform into the loveliest place on earth.

Neither artist seems to know of any bounds in the English language; Goss effortlessly turned “whiskey” and “gin” into verbs in the song, “Irish Eyes.” Though the melodies may seem simple in Goss’ and Cleaves’ songs, the lyrics are what bring out the talent that unabashedly shines in both artists music.

Interestingly, both singers have a stint of living and performing in Ireland. It is suitable that Goss and Cleaves spent time in a country known for its drinking, as it accurately depicts the ambience of their music.

While the singers may have big dreams for their future, their current status leads fans to believe that they are content with performing at local dive bars for the time being.

Take a break from the party scene in downtown Amherst to settle down with a few tasty beverages and some quality music at the Iron Horse tonight. The show begins at 7:00 p.m. and tickets are still available for purchase ahead of time through the Iron Horse website (http://www.iheg.com) for $15, or $20 at the door.

Acacia DiCiaccio can be reached at [email protected]