The O-town Scene

July 28, 2011

The O-town Scene - Oneonta, NY

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MUSIC PEOPLE Langhorne Slim| Alt-country-folk-rock musician Langhorne Slim recently took time to talk about Cooperstown, Broadway and songwriting while traveling with his band via van to a gig in the Pacific Northwest. Langhorne on vocals and guitar and bandmates (known as the War Eagles) Malachi DeLorenzo on drums, Jeff Ratner on bass and David Moore on keys and banjo are performing with Steve Earle, the Felice Brothers and the Horseshoe Lounge Playboys at the inaugural Ameri- cana Festival on Friday, Aug. 5, at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown. Langhorne Slim is known for his energet- ic performances as well as writing songs with catchy choruses and thoughtful lyrics. O-TOWN SCENE: Your last album, “Be Set Free,” was released in 2009. Are you working on a new album? LANGHORNE SLIM: You better believe it. We’re going to record in November. OS: The new single you have out, “The Way We Move,” is kind of kooky and avant garde. You’re talking about a belly of a whale and friends with tails. Seems different from older songs where you’re talking about love and life lessons. LS: Who needs love and life lessons when you have kooky and avant garde? There will still be songs about love, I’m sure. ... When I’m writing I just kind of take it as it comes and go with it. It’s not so much, oh I’m going to sit down and think I’m going to write a love song, or I’m going to write about friends with tails and bellies of whales. It comes more naturally, and I sort of go with it. OS: You’ve lived in New York City and Northern Califor- nia, and moved to Portland, Ore., a year ago. What was the city’s draw? LS: Well it’s better for me, it’s not necessarily “better” _ It’s all up to one’s interpretation. For me it’s an easy town to come back to. I think it’s built for artists and traveling musicians. It’s extremely accommodating. More so than any other city I’ve lived in. It’s an easy city to call home. And we’ve got a lot of friends there, which makes it even easier. OS: Have you ever been to Cooperstown? Are you a baseball fan? LS: I’m a huge baseball fan, Philadelphia Phillies fan. Grow- ing up, my father used to tell my brother and I that some day we would take a trip to Cooperstown, but it never happened. This will be my first time coming. I’m really excited to see the legendary Cooperstown. I’m hoping to go to the Baseball Hall of Fame if we have time. 10 O-Town Scene July 28, 2011 OS: The show at Ommegang is a biggish set-up, differ- ent from an intimate show at a bar. How are those shows different? LS: I try not to make them different. Ideally you sort of play the same in a bigger set-up or in a smaller one. The first one I played a big venue, maybe I was a little taken aback. But at this point we just try to put on a great show, and that way connect with a larger audience. I think if you try too hard, sometimes gets lost in the magic. OS: What’s one song you’d be stoked if everyone in the crowd at Ommegang were singing back to you? LS: I can’t say every one? I’m more stoked when people know them all. Because if they’re just singing one, then turn their back and walk away, it would be awkward. I would recommend they learn more than one. stage and performing. It was never my thing like learning lines, sticking to a script, working well with directors. I think that’s why I started to play guitar, because it was like perform- ing in my own play where I didn’t have to ... theater’s very regimented, some people appreciate it when you go off script, but sometimes it just pisses people off. As I got more serious about it, I think I was just irritating folks. The high school I went to, the whole school was 100 kids, so there wasn’t like a drama club. I was a go-to guy to be in the plays because I was one of the few of the guys who was into it, and maybe had some talent for it. Oh, “Bye Bye Birdie.” I was in that. I was Conrad Birdie. I got to wear the gold lame suit and everything. ... I’ve thought of getting back into it, but it’s a huge commit- ment. I know the guy who wrote “Hair,” and I was thinking of going and trying out for it. It would be very tough to do both because we tour all the time, but I’m still interested in it, not so much in doing old Broadway plays, unless it was like “West Side Story,” but I’m more interested in doing some acting. My grandparents were huge fans of all of those old classic shows. My mom was a big Streisand fan. But that’s not the only mu- sic I was raised on. I heard a lot of rock and roll music. As I got older, I got into punk rock and old blues and stuff like that. Contributed photos Langhorne Slim will perform at the Americana Festival at Brewery Ommegang on Aug. 5. OS: I heard that you like Broadway show tunes. LS: Yeah, well I was raised on that. OS: Did you ever perform in musical theater when you were younger? LS: Yes, my dear, I sure did. Many, many shows. (I did) “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,” some Chekhov plays. That was kind of my thing when I was a little kid. Actually, it wasn’t really my thing. I just liked being on OS: Do you remember the first cover song you performed? LS: Yeah, I think. I think it was a Doc Watson tune or Blind Lemon Jefferson, and I can’t remember the names of either of the songs. I learned to play guitar by learning “Polly” by Nirvana. My cousin taught me those chords. That would be the first cover song I ever learned. OS: If you could perform with three music legends at the same time, on stage jamming, who would you choose? LS: Well, that’s pretty difficult. Charles Mingus, Jimi Hendrix. How ’bout, let’s get Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Mingus together with me, and we’ll see what happens. It might be terrible, but it would be interesting. _ Cassandra Miller

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