Slaid Cleaves, “Horseshoe Lounge”

Written by September 6th, 2011 at 7:04 am

Slaid Cleaves was born and raised in Maine but has lived in Austin for most of his life as a musician. In 2000, he released his breakthrough album, Broke Down. Since then, he’s put out three more studio albums and has become a link in the chain of great Texas songwriters, even co-writing with Wimberley,Texas legend Ray Wylie Hubbard.

But when Cleaves first hit Austin in the early ‘90s, he says it took him awhile to learn the ropes in his adopted state. He says he was afraid of the Horseshoe Lounge, “a dusty little bar” in his neighborhood.

“I was afraid if I’d walk in there the record player would skip and everyone would turn around and look at me,” Cleaves says. “It stuck out as a cool Texas place to my Maine-bred eyes. It was kinda scary looking, there’s no windows and it’s kind of foreboding-looking from the street.”

Cleaves and fellow Austin songwriter and “comrade-in-arms” Karen Poston wrote their song “Horseshoe Lounge,” which originally appeared on Broke Down, before Cleaves ever even set foot in the bar.

“We didn’t write the song really about the Horseshoe Lounge. We just used it as a setting for a love story,” says Cleaves.

“After I wrote the song my mom brought the CD down to the Horseshoe Lounge while she was visiting one Christmas. That kinda broke the ice. They put the record on the jukebox. I show up there once in awhile and people buy me a drink.”

In April and June of last year, Cleaves staged two intimate concerts at the bar – which normally does not have live music – and recorded the shows for a two-disc live CD called Sorrow And Smoke: Live At The Horseshoe Lounge.

Naturally, Cleaves does a great version of “Horseshoe Lounge” on the album.

“Horseshoe Lounge”

Ricky got the quarters for the table and broke
While I pulled hard on the sorrow and smoke
Raising up my bottle I looked for a chance
As you set your glass down on the bar with a glance at me

Down at the Horseshoe Lounge
Shuffleboard and neon light
Down at the Horseshoe Lounge
Cigarettes and whiskey tonight

Ricky said ‘She’s out of your league, let her go’
As I watched you pick your partner on that old dance floor
I know it didn’t work out the first time we tried
But I’d do anything to have you by my side again.

Down at the Horseshoe Lounge
Peel the label off a miller light
Down at the Horseshoe Lounge
I sit here thinking ’bout you every night.

Were you the one who faltered
Was I the one who strayed
Maybe God left us out of the plans he made

So here’s to missed beginnings and things that never start
For these are the ghosts that run around in my heart
When I see that where I’m going isn’t where I want to be
I get the urge to look you up see if you would come and meet me

Down at the Horseshoe Lounge
Hey Buddy have you got a light
Down at the Horseshoe Lounge
One more and I’ll be alright

Down at the Horseshoe Lounge
Peel the label off a Miller Light
Down at the Horseshoe Lounge
I sit here thinkin’ ’bout you every night.

Ricky got the quarters for the table and broke
While I pulled hard on the sorrow and smoke

Written by Slaid Cleaves and Karen Poston

Comments

Tags: , , ,

Related Articles

Sign up for our newsletter
Never display this again