Langhorne Slim, Self-Titled

by oz on April 30, 2008

Langhorne Slim

When I first heard the name Langhorne Slim, I expected a dirty blues sound. Something about that name made me think of the delta blues and I pictured a skinny, old black dude with a howling voice singing songs about being down on his luck after his old lady left him. Langorne Slim may have fallen on a few hard times, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to his newest release on Kemado Records. His songwriting and music find the beauty of day-to-day life and the album is a joyous celebration of life’s ups and downs.

The album starts with “Spinning Compass,” a song that sets the tone for the entire album. It’s about a relationship ending, not mutually or amicably, yet somehow Langhorne Slim’s lyrics about pain and misery are camouflaged in an upbeat song that you’ll sing along to in the car (but not quite get all the words). “Yeah I’ve been miserable, totally invisible, less than hmm hm hmmm, never given all you’ve got, hmm hm hmmm, loved a little lost alot.”

Then “Rebel Side of Heaven” follows and gives all us sinners hope with the anthem chorus, “Although we’ve sinned all our lives, we’re not going to hell. We’re going to the rebel side of heaven.” From there the album rambles on with more American music on songs like “Restless” and “Sometimes.” Slim puts together a string of songs with a potpourri of sound that would smell great if ears could smell. There’s a smattering of soulful blues and a dash of finger-picked twang. You’ll hear guitars, drums, trumpets, keys, the violin, and I’m pretty sure I heard the xylophone a few times. “Collette” is the most stripped down and personal track on the album and it’s my favorite.

What really draws me to Langhorne Slim is his unbridled passion. He’s an artist that pours himself into his music. I don’t know him personally, but I would imagine that songwriting is a contemplative, healing process for him. Several songs start off with themes of sorrow, but there’s always a “but things will get better” transition to hope and optimism, if not explicitly in verse, then in the melodies and instrumentation.

Langhorne Slim’s music will make you feel better. Like on “Diamonds and Gold” when he offers advice: “Toss your misery out the door/ What are you waitin’ for/ You’ve got to learn to get a little happy along the way/ It’s alright to change your style/ It’s alright to smile/ It’s alright to get a little happy along the way.” Now imagine those inspiring words coming from the love child of Cat Stevens and Josh Ritter.

I’m not sure what the rebel side of heaven looks like, but I hope when I’m bellied up to the bar at The Big Guy in the Sky’s Bar and Lounge, that Langhorne strolls up in his fedora so I can buy him cocktail. I hear ice cubes are made of clouds up there.

MySpace | Kemado Records

Langhorne Slim – Rebel Side of Heaven

Langhorne Slim – “Restless” on Letterman


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Woody April 30, 2008 at 8:30 am

There aren’t enough good things to say about this disc. Simply put this is an absolute gem!!!

Drinking Buddy April 30, 2008 at 9:30 am

Just picked this up over the weekend and it is tits edition.

nittanyroar May 5, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Thanks for another great tip. Bought it over the weekend myself. The entire disc is amazing. Thanks again.

oz May 7, 2008 at 10:00 am

Glad you enjoyed. We have a live session scheduled w/ them at the end of the month as well!

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