October 30, 2009

Langhorne Slim - Be Set Free (2009)

I know am a bit late joining the Langhorne Slim fanclub, having just heard him for the first time before the Builders and the Butchers' set at MusicfestNW. But since then, I've been digging in to the newly released Be Set Free and last year's self-titled album. Both are fantastic, exactly the kind of singer-songwriting I love. It's passionate and more often than not the songs build until they are the brink of coming unhinged. "Cinderella" is a mix of foot stomping, piano banging, and call and response, somehow making silly lyrics seem universal. I could be wrong, but "Say Yes" sounds to me like a barroom party cry to have fun, using love as an allegory for drinking to excess. Or it could just be a celebration of love. Whatever. Langhorne Slim's powerful and emotive voice drives through a swirling organ on "Boots Boy". While there certainly a couple slower, regret-filled songs, like "Leaving My Love", Be Set Free feels loose and fun. Anyone who loved The Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter should definitely pick this up.

Oh, and he's back in Portland on November 4th at the Crystal Ballroom. Life is good.