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!
Lucy Rosejokingly said, “never bring an opener on tour who is better than you.” She was of course referring to Charlie Cunningham, the super-talented British singer/songwriter who was definitely more of a “show stopper” than “show starter” and who had you stopped in your tracks with HIS stunning tracks. Apart from his exquisite guitar work and super-soothing vocals, his incredibly pensive, poetic, introspective lyrics will seep into your soul and etch some long-lasting “Lines” (coincidentally the title of his debut album). His music reminds me a bit of Nick Mulvey and Jose Gonzalez, which is funny cause apparently Jose Gonzalez is one of the main musicians that Charlie’s record label curator (Magus) works with. Keen hunch! I l also hear a bit of Spanish guitar influence, which makes sense considering that Charlie traveled to Spain to create the music he wanted to play, free from the prerequisite of “having to read music” first. Charlie also learned to play piano before he learned guitar (at age 14), and I hope he brings both with him on his next US tour… which BETTER BE a HEADLINE one. His 45 min opening set at Swedish American Hall was way too short for satiation, and there was a unanimous request from the entire audience for him to keep playing after his last song, ‘Minimum‘ (video below), my FAVORITE (aside from ‘An Opening‘) and one that really hits home:
“How do I walk this earth? So much work at first, it goes How should I walk this earth? So much worse the further, the further you go
Go, take off a load Letting your wings unfold And keeping everything down to a minimum Everything a bit though Tell’em what you know but all that you know, though The truth be told you need it more than you thought But you’re managing, that’s how you evened out, out
Keep on walking that line, the fine line Between a wrong and a right You get yours, I’m gonna get mine Is that what you signed for? They’re feeding you lines To keep you on their side It works every time
What you got to live for Now you got the whole of the world at your feet And how much more can you pass yourself round?
What you got to live for now You got the whole of the world at your feet But you’re still shaking? You need to make up some ground
Go, take off a load Letting your wings unfold And keeping everything down to a minimum Everything a bit though Tell’em what you know but all that you know, though The truth be told you need it more than you thought But you’re managing, that’s how you evened out, out” ❤
Mad props to Lucy for bringing him on tour with her! It was also nice that she invited him up on stage to help sing a few of her songs. I was so bummed when I missed seeing him open for Low Roarat The Chapel last year cause of being away for a work trip. This was certainly a super sweet an unexpected treat!<3 🙂
I couldn’t believe when Nick Mulvey said “I’ve seen you before!” after his Swedish American Hallshow on Nov 17. He musta remembered the puppet face! I was hooked ever since that first night at Barfly and just kept showing up everywhere he played, from Green Man Festival to Shepards Bush empire (opening for Laura Marling) to O2 Brixton Academy (opening for London Grammar) to XOYO (where he played with the talented Fiona Bevan). His song ‘Fever to the Form‘ was legitimately my LIFE ANTHEM for most of 2013-2014, and that first verse “So whether music or madness, We live by one of the two… So Go on an fill your heart with gladness, not a moment too soon” will forever be my GUIDING LIGHT. It is a TIMELESS TRACK that I know will still bring me the same peace of mind and clarity (“cause the very thing you’re afraid, afraid of, It keeps you clean but unclear”) 20 years from now as it did back in 2013. ‘Fever to the Form’ was released alongside other tops tracks (First Mind, I Don’t Want to Go Home, Meet Me There, Juramidam, Cucurucu) on his debut album, First Mind, which was nominated for a Mercury Prize (well deserved!) in 2014. Nick has become a dad since the release of that album, and he considers this step to have had a positive influence on his music writing: “Putting music as a secondary priority to that (the challenge of making new music) was a really healthy thing for me.” Well, we are glad to reap the benefits of that positive influence, for his newest (sophomore) album, Wake Up Now, is freaking AWESOME. Standout tracks for me are: Mountain to Move, Remembering, In Your Hands, Transform Your Game, and Unconditional. In fact, Nick has a really cool story to go along with ‘Mountain to Move’ and I hope he continues to share it during his live performances. Cheers to the super talented British musician who studied music in Cuba and who continues to weave styles from all over the world into his musical quilt. ❤