eTown Live Radio Show Taping w/ Langhorne Slim and Robyn Hitchcock
- When: June 1, 2016 Time: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
- Where: eTOWN HALL / 1535 Spruce Street, Boulder, CO 80302
- Cost: $26 Plus applicable service fees
More than just a regular concert, eTown is a unique live experience! Audience members will watch the eTown Broadcast recorded before their very eyes, complete with performances and interviews with both of our visiting artists, as well as the eChievement Award segment, eTown's opportunity to honor everyday heroes who are doing their part to make the world a better place. You won't want to miss it!
Show Start: 7:00pm
Show End: 9:00pm
Langhorne Slim - A biography
Sometimes, truth can't be explained. But it can be felt, running wild through a song. "I don't want to tame myself. I want to be wild," says Langhorne Slim. "If I can continue to refine the wildness but never suffocate or tame it, then I'm on the right path. Because it is a path. I feel it."
'The Spirit Moves' is Langhorne's newest artistic attempt to refine the wildness. The result is an effervescent collection of his now-signature, cinematic, joyful noise, rooted in folk, soul, and blues. Out on Dualtone Records on August 7th, 2015, the album marks his second with rock-solid band The Law, and the highly anticipated follow-up to 2012's critically acclaimed 'The Way We Move.'
'The Spirit Moves' is a stunning portrait of Langhorne's life in transition: the "born to be in motion and follow the sun" rambler found a home in Nashville, Tennessee. While he's put down roots in a place, he's unattached to a person, single for the first time in recent memory. 'The Spirit Moves' is also the first album of his career written and recorded entirely sober. Together, the record's beautiful glimpses of bold beginnings and risks taken create an ode not only to a better life, but to the vulnerability needed to live it.
"I'm a strong believer that sensitivity and vulnerability are not weaknesses. They're some of the greatest strengths of man and woman kind," Langhorne says. "And that's what a lot of the record is about."
Langhorne and The Law sought out engineer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, Hurray for the Riff Raff) and recorded 'The Spirit Moves' at Tokic's studio, the Bomb Shelter, in East Nashville. Producing duties were shouldered by Langhorne, the band, and trusted cohort Kenny Siegal, reuniting the family behind 'The Way We Move.'
"I went to battle with my demons, and I'm still doing it," Langhorne says. "My brothers stood beside me and kicked ass on the record." Three of his brothers are The Law: drummer Malachi DeLorenzo, bassist Jeff Ratner, and keys and banjo player David Moore. "My band is not a hired gun group of guys," Langhorne says. "They are my band and they are uniquely spectacular."
And then, there's brother Kenny Siegal. "In Kenny, I've found a musical brother," he says. "We drive each other crazy, but the man understands me somehow in an energetic, spiritual sense, more than most anyone I've ever met."
Langhorne wasn't looking for a co-writer, but that's exactly what Siegal became for eight of the record's songs, making 'The Spirit Moves' the first time Langhorne has ever written with someone else for an album. For Langhorne, writing is often an arduous process. "I rarely write a complete song immediately," he explains. "Every once in a while, one hits, but songs mostly come in pieces. Those pieces build up and start to taunt me as they swirl around in my head. Eventually, they make me feel like I'm going totally crazy. It's like they're gonna devour me -- eat me alive."
He pushed through alone to pen some of the tracks, chasing each song's individual truth. In creating others, Siegal helped him put the pieces together.
What emerged is a record that delights in contradiction: freewheeling but purposeful; celebratory but confessional; looking to light even when it's dark. Langhorne's voice -- an arresting howl sublimely at home in a Mississippi roadhouse or on a Newport stage -- has never sounded better.
He wrote the title track just weeks before entering the studio, "terrified that I didn't have enough and what I had wasn't good enough." The song is no mere reflection, but a manifestation of unbridled joy, and a celebration of opening up oneself to the supernatural that surrounds us.
"Changes" is an intimate look at a soul being reborn, but Langhorne hopes each listener can hear something of their own in it. "When I'm writing, it's coming from a heart or soul kind of place, not the mental zone of 'Well, I moved to Nashville and I got sober and I'm single and I'm going through changes, so let's write a song about it,'" he says. He calls infectious garage-pop growler "Put it Together" "the most painful song I've ever written," not because of the subject matter, but because of the process. He found the opening lines and crunchy chords while seeking relief after his beloved 1977 Mercury Comet was stolen. But then, the song took months to complete. "I've never worked that hard to get a song," he says.
The refusal to let a heart harden helped bring about "Life's a Bell," a dreamy call-to-action that nods to 50s rock-and-roll and Sly and the Family Stone. "A lot of my music is celebration of light," he says. "It's a horrible thing to shield our hearts and not be vulnerable."
"Wolves," based on a James Kavanaugh poem, tackles similar subject matter, and Langhorne feels it's the "truest expression of myself that I've put into a song." "I'm tough enough to run with the bulls, and I'm too gentle to live amongst wolves," he sings, his soul-shouting subdued to a hush that's just as powerful.
The rollicking "Southern Bells" pulses with the optimism of a new day, while "Strongman" and its piano pay tribute to perseverance and seizing the moment. "Whisperin'" captures another kind of breakthrough, relatable and intense, while "Strangers" is classic Langhorne Slim, and begs to be danced to, uninhibited and free.
"Airplane" is a poignant example of his ability to capture the redemptive hope in desperation. Part meditation, part urging of an unnamed co-conspirator, the song puts his defiantly tender vocals front and center, hugged by a rotating cast of instruments that kicks off with stark guitar and piano, swells into lush strings and percussion, then ebbs back into its stripped-down beginning -- like the waves of confidence and doubt that make up faith itself.
The song is undoubtedly a career standout for Langhorne, and creating it was a long road. Three key "muses" -- his Grandma Ruth, dear friend Joel Sadler, and another confidant -- gave him encouragement along the way. "I kept going for 'Airplane' because it made sense to me and there were people around me who were moved very deeply by it," he says. "It's one of my favorite songs I've ever written."
With a new home and a clear head, Langhorne is exhilarated thanks to the realization of what he knew was possible. "I had a problem with drugs and alcohol from the time I was 15 until I quit last year on my 33rd birthday," Langhorne says. "I was hitting my head against the ceiling. I knew all I had to do was quit, and my head would burst through that ceiling. I didn't really know what would be there, but I knew it'd be something greater."
For Langhorne, something greater includes making the best music of his life.
"By opening myself, I'm vulnerable and I'm fearful, but I start to get real. And in that realness, there is immense strength that I wish for everybody," Langhorne says. "Maybe everybody's scared to be a freak. But when you live as a freak -- " he laughs -- "it's so much more fulfilling."
- Elisabeth Dawson, 2015
Robyn Hitchcock is one of England's most enduring contemporary singer/songwriters and live performers. Despite having been persistently branded as eccentric or quirky for much of his career, Hitchcock has continued to develop his whimsical repertoire, deepen his surreal catalog, and expand his devoted audience beyond the boundaries of cult stature. He is among alternative rock's father figures and is the closest thing the genre has to a Bob Dylan (not coincidentally his biggest inspiration).
Starting his career as a folkie in Cambridge, England, Hitchcock has been compared to such other British folk-rock figures as Roy Harper and the Incredible String Band, specifically because of his acoustic guitar and loopy vocal style, though his rock voice bears shades of John Lennon and Syd Barrett. Switching gears early to front the Soft Boys, a punk-era band specializing in melodic, chiming jangle pop and clever lyrics (Underwater Moonlight remains a classic of the genre), it wasn't long before he quit the band life and made his solo debut. Black Snake Diamond Role (1981) confirmed his reputation as an oddball thanks to his titles "Brenda's Iron Sledge" and "Acid Bird," among others. The psychedelia of Groovy Decay (1982) followed, as did the all-acoustic I Often Dream of Trains (1984). By 1985, Hitchcock's unpredictable songsmithing coalesced on Fegmania! Later that year, the live document Gotta Let This Hen Out! demonstrated his command of the stage. In 1988, he landed his first major U.S. label contract with A&M Records and followed the signing by releasing the ambitious Globe of Frogs (1988) and Queen Elvis (1989). He continued to record (Perspex Island, 1991; Respect, 1993) and receive college radio airplay, though once the momentum of the A&M years begun to lag, Hitchcock bounced back in 1996 with the return-to-form Moss Elixir (Warner Bros.), which embraced his folk roots. Storefront Hitchcock, the soundtrack to the Jonathan Demme-directed concert film, followed in 1998.
Upon release from his contract with Warner Bros., Hitchcock self-released A Star for Bram (Editions PAF!, 2000), a collection of outtakes and leftover recordings from the Jewels for Sophia (1999) sessions. In 2002 he released Robyn Sings, a double-disc collection of Bob Dylan songs culled from various live appearances in America and abroad during 1999-2000. The stripped-down Luxor followed in 2003, released in conjunction with his 50th birthday. In 2004, he took not only a bit role in Jonathan Demme's remake of The Manchurian Candidate, but released Spooked (Yep Roc Records) a one-off collaboration with alternative country artists Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, recorded over a period of six days in Nashville. A Japanese-only compilation of his work was released in 2005, while 2006 offered This Is the BBC, a collection of his BBC sessions from the '90s, as well as Olé! Tarantula, a new batch of surreal pop tunes recorded with members of the Minus 5.
In 2007, Hitchcock became the subject of a documentary by director John Edginton (Robyn Hitchcock: Sex, Food, Death... and Insects) -- a behind-the-scenes look at Hitchcock's work with Nick Lowe, John Paul Jones, Peter Buck, Bill Rieflin, Gillian Welch, and other collaborators in the Venus 3 project. A companion live EP of the Venus 3's subsequent American tour was released at the same time. In late 2007, Yep Roc began reissuing all of Hitchcock's earlier work, culminating in the boxed collection I Wanna Go Backwards. Hitchcock delved back into the archives for 2008's Shadow Cat, a collection of unreleased material from the latter half of the '90s, and also for Luminous Groove, a box set of early Egyptians releases and rarities. Goodnight Oslo, his second release with the Venus 3, and the live CD/DVD set I Often Dream of Trains in New York arrived in 2009. The following year, Hitchcock dropped Propellor Time, a collaboration with the Smiths’ Johnny Marr, Nick Lowe, and John Paul Jones (as well as the Venus 3) that was three years in the making. An all-new solo outing, Love from London, arrived on March 4, 2013, a day after his 60th birthday. The Man Upstairs, a self-described collection of "new originals, classic covers, and little-known gems" produced by legendary folk producer Joe Boyd, was released in 2014. ~ Denise Sullivan & J. Scott McClintock, Rovi
Have questions about eTown Live Radio Show Taping w/ Langhorne Slim & The Law and Robyn Hitchcock? Contact eTown