Austin, Texas, singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves has spent most of his life as a dedicated student of American songwriting, drawing from heroes such as Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. As he puts it in his online biography, “I’m not an innovator. I’m more of a keeper of the flame.” But while there may be nothing new under the sun, Cleaves still finds a way to put his unique spin on the down-home stories he’s spun on record since his 1990 cassette debut, “The Promise.” His most recent release, 2017’s “Ghost on the Car Radio,” continues this, with songs such as “Little Guys” and “Take Home Pay” taking a personal approach to income inequality and drug abuse. Cleaves, who last performed at The Belfry in 2015, returns to the Sisters venue Friday.

Slaid Cleaves: 8 p.m. Friday; $25 plus fees in advance; The Belfry, 302 E. Main Ave., Sisters;