Langhorne Slim & The Law: “The Way We Move”
There are a few different ways to approach folk music. One involves serious songs about serious subjects sung by serious people. Another, one that I personally prefer, is like the emotional equivalent of a shotgun blast. It’s about letting all the feelings out–good, bad or ugly–in one exuberant, unhinged wallop of energy and honesty. Even if the song’s sad, it makes the catharsis all the sweeter. It’s about laying your musical cards on the felt, and neo-folkie Langhorne Slim is the kind of songwriter and performer that goes all-in every hand.
Slim (real name Sean Scolnick) takes his name from Langhorne, Pennsylvania, the small town in eastern Pennsylvania near the New Jersey border where he was born. Like many a young man with a bit of a muse and a musical bent, at 18 Slim found his way to Brooklyn where he ensconced himself in the folk scene. After finishing university studies in New York Slim went out on the road opening up for playful, freak-folk outfit The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. Slim has also played opening slots for groups like Lucero, Murder By Death, The Avett Brothers, Drive-By Truckers and The Old 97′s, and performed for audiences at big shows like the Newport Folk Festival and Lollapalooza. In 2004 he issued his first EP Electric Love Letter. The following year Slim released his debut full-length When The Sun’s Gone Down. Slim, who had heretofore gone mostly solo, added a backing band for the record, and they’ve been a fixture in Slim’s show and sound ever since. Now called The Law, the band includes longtime Slim collaborators Malachi DeLorenzo on drums, Jeff Ratner on bass and David Moore on keys and banjo.
Earlier this summer Slim and The Law released their latest record The Way We Move. The rollicking title track is today’s song of the day. The track is propped up by a rhythm that makes you just want to march. Yes, march. The music is delightfully loose and shambolic. You can almost imagine Moore at an upright with an ashy cigarette dangling from his grinning mug as he pounds out the ramshackle hooks. Slim stretches and scrapes his vocal chords almost to the breaking point, like he’s been up all night belting out drunken tunes with his buddies. But by the end of the song you feel like the party’s just started, and you’ve just arrived. It’s folk at its best.
And there’ll be a party Tuesday night at The Parish when Langhorne Slim & The Law bring their whole show to Austin.