Langhorne Slim
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Langhorne Slim

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Here's the Skinny on Langhorne Slim"

Given the multiplatinum success of the "O Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack, it's no wonder that dozens of retro-minded Americana acts are out in the local clubs. But in the last few months, you might have gotten word of a young fellow who goes by the name of Langhorne Slim, and he's something altogether different.

With a fedora cocked rakishly over his brow, Langhorne Slim takes the stage like a man who's played juke joints all his life. While many of his roots-chic brethren play old-timey music with near religious reverence, Slim knows how to tell a joke and turn a dusty old melody into a house-shaking rave-up.

"I really don't like the whole separation of the audience and the guy on stage," says Slim, who just wrapped up a national tour with the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. "Instead of some guy standing on a 15-foot stage who is so far removed, it makes me feel good to get down with people."

You can see him Sunday at the Parkside Lounge, playing songs from his self-released album, "Slim Pickings." His music is a mixture of Bob Dylan-like folk, with elements of ragtime, bluegrass, country blues and the rapid-fire flat-picking he picked up from old Doc Watson albums.

Langhorne Slim was born Sean Scolnick 22 years ago in Langhorne, Penn. He started out playing Nirvana covers, but soon was drawn to the sounds he heard on collections such as Harry Smith's "American Folk Anthology." Like Dylan, he moved away and reinvented himself, keeping only "the coolest thing about my town, which was the name."

"People think that I've developed this character, Langhorne Slim, and it's really nothing like that at all," he says. "I just fell in love with this kind of music without even realizing it."

Already a hit on the folk scene, Slim's lately been branching out into rock clubs. Usually, one guy and a guitar doesn't blend so well with amped-up pop, but Slim's sexually suggestive wit and stage savvy generally win over even the toughest crowd.

"I play wherever people will have me play," he says. "And I can almost always get people to sing with me. But for some reason I can't get them to get up and shake that [butt]."

by: Isaac Guzman - New York Daily News


Discography

The Electric Love Letter EP
Slim Picken's

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

There he is, in porkpie hat and dandy thrift store suit, looking like a fresh-faced grifter bluesman. Langhorne Slim was born in the ‘80s but is the kind of man who routinely refers to his lovers as “mama.” He is some kind of throwback to an earlier time. And yet he is clearly madly in love with the 21st century. And women. And dancing. And dancing with women.
Langhorne’s songs come out of American vernacular music -- the race and hillbilly sounds that peaked in the ‘20s and ‘30s in what Greil Marcus so famously called “the old, weird America.” Well, Langhorne makes music for the new, weird America. It’s not like it’s political music, it’s just that we live in intense times and Langhorne brings it all back home in the form of music. Deep feelings trump troubled times any day of the week. It’s not like he’s mining the allegedly tapped-out veins of Americana for authenticity, though; Langhorne just can’t say it any other way, at least for now. See, the music he comes out of has an innate, ineffable nature –the peculiar chords and rhythms of American roots music summon up feelings that no other music can produce, and they just happen to be the perfect vessel for what’s on his mind. In Langhorne’s world (and yeah, it’s his world, we just live in it), life is about hooting and hollering, sometimes for no reason in particular. Given that, what other kind of music would he play? Ambient thrash? Acid klezmer? Lounge- metal?
You can hear a few clear antecedents in Langhorne’s passionate vocal delivery: the Delta whinny of young Captain Beefheart, Bob Dylan’s vehement squawk, late folk-blues king Ted Hawkins’ gruff confessional (“I Ain’t Proud”), the abrasive busker charm of the Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano. Those are all some forceful singers, but Langhorne can also turn on the high, sweet, boyish charm “By the Time the Sun Goes Down.” He can be so sweetly candid in his offhand weirdness, a guy who can write a love song with a line like “Mary, are you the mother of my God?/ Mary, you’re sweeter than corn on the cob it’s scary Mary, I’m in Love with you.” On “The Electric Love Letter,” the song’s gentle, good-natured swing captures the effortless joy of new love – sometimes it’s easier than falling off a log. “She tastes just like pumpkin pie,” Langhorne exclaims, and you totally know what he’s talking about, even if it makes you blush just a tad.
Sure, the music has an undeniable pastoral swing, but often it goes way past that and into the realm of the just plain manic -- “In the Midnight,” with its two- stepping banjo, brims with punk rock energy. This is, after all, music of the city. Listen closely to Langhorne’s music and you can hear the distant creak of wagon wheels, but it’s easier to hear the screech of subway brakes. It’s not just city life that’s pervaded his music, it’s just like there’s no other way to convey the hysteria of falling in or out of love. On “I Love to Dance,” Last song he thanks all the ladies for giving him a chance; he might as well thank them for giving him plenty of material.
This album has an esprit du corps, a joie de vivre, and probably a whole lot of other French phrases which all translate roughly as “foot-stompin’ music.” “I don’t believe in believin’ in nothin’,” Langhorne proclaims on the triumphant “I Will.” And that's the thing: Langhorne Slim’s music does give a damn and so should you.