That time you meet one of the most talented folk/Americana artists out there (Langhorne Slim) after his show at the Swedish American Hall (as part of NoisePop festival) and nerd out with him about (1) effects of music on the brain (why music holds such strong memory), (2) playing music to old people (he loved playing to his Grandpa Sid and I encouraged him to play at nursing homes), (3) our perception of time (why time seems longer when we are in unfamiliar environments like when we are kids and everything is new), and (4) Langhorne (the town where he grew up but the one that I always remember my soccer team never being able to beat!). Never did I think I would have such a heart-to-heart with someone whose music had my heart when I first I heard it. Langhorne Slim is a true wordsmith whose way with words makes you feel so warm and welcome in his company, as if he was a long-lost friend that you have known for years. I couldn’t stop smiling when he was spouting off his deluge of stories (he’s certainly got plenty!) and providing context for how his various songs came to be (some in a dream). Aside from being one of the kindest, funniest, most humble human beings I know, he is one of the most AUTHENTIC, and you will never doubt that every word, whisper, belt, chuckle, howl coming out of his mouth is HIS OWN. He is not like the rest — just like Kurt Cobain (“I’m not like them / But I can pretend”) whose birthday he honored on Monday — but he does not pretend. You can certainly count on Slim NOT being slim with his self, his FULL SELF. ❤
Some of my favorite songs that he played tonight: Changes (“I’m going through changes, rattlin’ cages, I’m going through changes now”), Song For Sid (“Tell me where do all the good ones go, when they’re gone”), Back to the Wild, Coffee Cup, Again tonight and Be Set Free. It was also awesome to hear him cover Leonard Cohen‘s Tonight Will Be Fine” and Jackie DeShannon’s What the World Needs Now. Just also wish he played The Way We Move!
SUCH A TREAT to have discovered the sweet, sassy, SUPER-TALENTED Southern singer/songwriter from NC (Emily Scott Robinson) who now lives on the road with her husband in their RV, writing and performing across the country and touring with bluegrass/grassroots powerhouses like Ben Sollee and the Kentucky Natives (Swedish American Hall). Equipped with an angelic voice and natural knack for storytelling, Emily gives us a glimpse into her wanderlust window, exposing us to the “traveling mercies” of life on the road and missing community and a home base. One of my favorite tracks from her set was ‘Better with Time,’ inspired by “the first place you live with someone you love” (which for her was a tiny one bedroom house in Colorado with a beautiful view). Another track that had my was a brand new one (finished only a few days ago) called ‘Ghost in Every Town.’ It was inspired by the monotony, desperation, and loneliness that she witnessed living for a short while in a small RV park in Oregon. The lyrics SLAY, and I could not help but get chills when she sang “The kinda desperate that forces you to kneel… The kinda howling you can only do alone.” WOW. But overall, it had to be ‘Overalls’ (her inaugural Patreon song) that stole the show. Written about her dear friend’s father who served in WWII and passed away this year, ‘Overalls‘ will touch your ❤️ and leave you in a puddle of tears/joy. It’s just so refreshing to hear stories veterans who were so grateful to be alive when they returned from war and who measured their wealth by their experiences and family/community (“I know I don’t have much to show, but I’m the richest man that I know”). I can’t help but smile to imagine this grateful fella who grasped every day as a gift and now looks back on his good long life with pride and appreciation: “So raise a glass to my good long life, don’t dress in black, don’t let me see you cry, I’m not afraid, I’m just headed home. It’s time to let me go.” Having released her debut album, “Magnolia Queen” just last year, Emily has started a Patreon page and will be releasing songs periodically while on the road. I sure hope her RV makes a very long pit stop in NorCal so I can see her again soon!
I find it SO FREAKING EERIE that I immediately compared Courtney Barnett to Kurt Vilenearly 4 years ago when I first saw her at The Great Escape Festival in Brighton and NOW, they are TOURING TOGETHER after the recent release of their collaborative album, Lotta Sea Lice. Kurt Vile was someone that I had been following since his ‘Smoke Ring for My Halo’ days thanks you his brother Paul Vile who directed me to his set at Sasquatch 2012 (arguably the best lineup of any US festival I’ve been to yet). Courtney and Kurt reminded me of one another in so many ways – stitching songs together with threads of rock, grunge, and folk, and doing so with a carefree, nonchalant charisma that plagues all who listen. I am in awe of their ability to whip up to witty narratives about obscure observations of the mundane. Their collaborative albums is a testament to the beauty of a creative, comfortable companionship between two eclectic music makers that complement each other’s chords finished each other’s sentences (literally). Their charming ‘Continental Breakfast‘ track has Courtney and Kurt singing back and forth about the frustration of maintaining their long-distance friendship (“I cherish my intercontinental friendships; We talk it over continental breakfast”) and the monotony of life on the road (“In a hotel in East Bumble-wherever; Somewhere on the sphere, around here.”) I also really loved their song, ‘Fear is Like a Forest’ (“Fear is like a forest, The dark of the unknown; Love is like a promise, That you’ll never be alone”), which was actually written by Courtney’s wife, Jen Cloher (talented musician who opened the show). I also enjoyed the manifestation of Courtney and Kurt covering each other’s songs, with Courtney’s version of Kurt’s ‘Peepin Tomboy’ (‘Peepin’ Tom’ on this album) paralyzing me with the arresting apathy of her delivery. I also really enjoyed Kurt’s take on Courtney’s ‘Out of the Woodwork.’ But, the MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS OF THE NIGHT were when Courtney and Kurt covered Belly’s ‘Untogether’ (“You can’t save the unsavably untogether”) and Gillian Welch’s ‘Elvis Presley Blues’ (“I was thinking that night about Elvis, Day that he died, day that he died”). Courtney’s vocals absolutely SHINE on this on, and the bread and range of the vocals are more apparent than ever. My heart was gushing a bit with the beautiful harmonies between her and Kurt. I’m sure Mr. ELVIS PRESLEY himself would have definitely approve. It was so refreshing to watch the playful banter between such seasoned musicians and I kept smiling when I saw Kurt’s classic yelps (“Whoop!”) making Courtney laugh throughout the set. He then had the entire audience laugh when he said that “Lotta Sea Lice” is the “only sea lice you want to have.” A powerhouse performance by a powerhouse pair of proper pals.:D ❤