Slaid Cleaves’ new song, Still Fighting the War, was inspired in part by Denver Post photographer Craig F. Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo essay about a soldier trying to reconnect with civilian life as he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. Cleaves said he began the song before seeing Walker’s work, but “when I came across the photo essay, it helped me feel closer to the experience of what a vet goes through when he comes home. I don’t have anybody in my family who served, but I used that photo essay to find out what it was like for those people.”
Still Fighting the War, co-written by Ron Coy and featuring the legendary Jimmy LaFave on harmony, is the title song for the acclaimed Texas singer/songwriter’s forthcoming album. Cleaves tells USA Today “As I was putting together all these songs that I had recorded, this song was one of the strongest, and I saw a little bit of a theme,” Cleaves says. “They’re songs about perseverance and holding your head up through hard times, so I decided to use it as the title.”
Cleaves has is using the song as a vehicle to help raise money for Operation Homefront, an organization that provides emergency financial relief for service members and their families.
“Operation Homefront raises funds for people, whether they’re in need of car repair, help with their rent or help getting to their job,” Cleaves says. “It’s a very personal, easy-to-understand way to help people.
“I had a song that speaks to an issue of the day, and I’m thrilled when my songs connect with people. That’s the main reason I write songs. But with this one, I could go a step further and do some good with it, use it to get more attention to this cause.”
Head to Cleaves’ website and donate a minimum of 99 cents for the single. 100% of proceeds from the download will go to Operation Homefront.
Still Fighting the War, produced by Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Lloyd Maines and Mark Hallman, is out June 18 on Music Road Records.
Visit Operation Homefront for more information.