Langhorne Slim at Luck Social
As dusk settled upon our Luck, TX ranch painting all the grasses gold and wild cacti pink, Langhorne Slim sauntered up to one of the corrals to serenade Willie’s horses. Quickly he had a full audience as three gathered round, nipping at his hat and seemingly stomping their hooves to the beat. After, we took to the back stoop of one of Willie’s hideouts to chat about inspiration, writing, and Vol. 2 of Lost at Last before kicking off our first Luck Social with an intimate set in the chapel. Read our full interview below.
Luck: First things first as we are here in Luck, TX - I’d love to talk to you a little bit about your experience here.
Langhorne: Luck is amazing. It’s full of bugs I’ve never seen! [laughs] Luck is what brought me back and re-energized my interest in SXSW honestly. We’d done it for many years when our band started…do the grind, have some really good times and really good shows but I kind of got burnt out on it. Then Matt and the Luck family started to do this and I was invited out one year…to have this be the main focus of what I was doing and to come out on this ranch - I mean as you can tell sitting here - it’s just such a peaceful, naturally beautiful place. Then you know that Willie Nelson is living right there and I’m not too proud to be a dork about that. I’ve gotten to see him play a number of times in much bigger places, but here - that’s really special. They just invite a lot of people that I’m both fans and friends of...homies from Nashville or just from around. In how I love Newport Folk Festival its similar and different, but it’s like a family reunion…u don’t feel the hierarchy or some of the bullshit that you do feel in some festivals or places. It brings out the genuine kindness in people for the day. This is what I want in my life, I don’t know who wouldn’t want that. It’s what you want for these sorts of events that you throw and for me and my music, I want to try and create and environment and an energy that is positive; that is inclusive; that is an elevation of vibration as opposed to the opposite. We have obviously an extraordinary amount of the opposite going on in our world right now. I think any little bit that any of us can do is a job well done.
Luck: I agree. With you and all the other people we invite we know you are making incredible art and want to share it for the root of the reason.
Langhorne: I appreciate that. I’ve certainly always felt in very good company. Like my favorite festivals where I’m excited and honored and grateful that I get to play.
Luck: We’ve talked a lot about Luck and trying to make it a source of comfortability and community and inspiration. Do you have a place personal to you that is a source of inspiration?
Langhorne: I do and I don’t. I’ve got a very special house in Nashville that definitely offers an energy for creativity and yet I feel like because I’ve been on the run and on the road my entire adult life, I feel almost more comfortable in that zone than I do at home. I’ll have fellow traveling musicians stay there and they’ll be like, “I wrote nine songs while I was at your house on the toilet!” and it’s that kind of place. There’s a spot that I go to in upstate New York called Old Soul. One of my dear friend’s brother, Kenny Siegal, runs it. He’s produced and co-produced the last few records of mine and my band’s. It’s just nice to be isolated out there, there’s a certain vibe out there that I like very much but also that I kind of don’t like... but it seems to kick it out of me. He helps if there’s songs that I’m struggling to finish or put pieces together. So that would be a place...but I’m always amazed if I read an interview and someone’s got a straight answer for that. Don’t get me wrong, some songs are very hard work...but a lot of it seems to come from a place that I’m not sure we have words for in our language. I don’t take any real credit for a lot of those songs…[they] almost feel like you are a vessel for this thing. If you’re awake enough or fortunate enough to be there to capture it, then there it is. That could be taking a pee, walking down the street, it doesn’t need to be sunset or anything like that.
Luck: Right, you have to be open to receive it.
Langhorne: Right! Love of course. Heartbreak of course. I wish that wasn’t the case. The middle parts of the relationship, they can be hard.
Luck: - to make poetic
Langhorne: Yeah sometimes I think. The beginnings and the ends, they seem to produce songs.
Luck: So you write when inspiration strikes you?
Langhorne: I do. I admire but I’ve never been one of these guys or girls who sits down at 9 o’clock in the morning and has a schedule like “oh I’m going to write a song a day”. I admire that and I envy that but, no. I’ve never done that. I’ve definitely written on command for my own self. I’m neurotic in general, but if I’m about to make a new record - which I am about to record a new record in about a month - I get into this frenzy or fear that I don’t have enough music. You could have a hundred songs and if you don’t have 10 or 15 real good ones, you don’t have a great record.
Luck: So will this record be Volume 2?
Langhorne: This will be Volume 2. A lot of that is written and I’d like to write more for it and see what happens. Sometimes it’s you sitting there working on it but it usually stems from, for me, a melody or a line that comes from elsewhere. Perhaps overheard on the street or something that I believe is more other-dimensional or spiritual in nature.
Luck: Will Volume 2 continue on the story from Vol. 1?
Langhorne: It’s hard to say. I don’t think Volume 1 was a downer at all...definitely kind of folksy, homespun, for lack of better terms which is exactly what I wanted. Surprisingly even to myself, I’m really craving an upbeat “Wild Thing” “Sugar Sugar” kind of vibe. I don’t have those songs yet.
Luck: We need that right now.
Langhorne: It’s interesting you know, there are songs that are so poetic and they don’t waste a word. And then there’s songs in my opinion [like] “Wild Thing” that says it all and they don’t say that much. I’m interested in maybe trying to get into that zone a little bit.
Luck: Are you going to play any new stuff tonight?
Langhorne: It depends on if you know my new record. I will play new stuff, old stuff, in between stuff, and probably some newer songs that weren’t on Volume 1. This is the very end of this tour. I’m taking a month off just to concentrate on writing for the record.
Luck: Do you guys already have a record date?
Langhorne: We probably do, I know it’s next month.
Luck: Will it be in Nashville?
Langhorne: It’s looking like it’s going to be about two hours outside of New Orleans in Cajun country. I believe it’s in Lafayette.
Luck: That’s a good source of inspiration.
Langhorne: Yeah I could have given you that answer. That music, I don’t know how for a Jewish boy from outside of Philly but Cajun music and a lot of music that comes out of Louisiana, soul music and R&B music has been as much if not more of an influence for me … well you know it’s all the same to me. It’s all punk rock. Old folk music, country music, rhythm and blues music, punk rock, rock and roll, it’s, in its rawest form, it’s the animal within. And that’s what I strive to unleash.