Review: Langhorne Slim Sings Bittersweet Songs of Youth at Largo




By DONNA BALANCIA

Apparently the original, “world famous” Troubadour music venue on Santa Monica Boulevard was a tiny room on the La Cienega property the Largo Theatre occupies. That may or may not be something a lot of people in Los Angeles know.

But what’s fitting is it reflects the life of an actual troubadour, moving from one end of the music world to the other. So it’s appropriate that Langhorne Slim, a troubadour in the true sense of the word, appeared at the Largo Wednesday night, one of many stops on his Lost At Last Vol 1 tour.

A Philadelphia-born singer-songwriter, Langhorne Slim entertained the fans with his solo guitar show with stories about the history of the songs intertwined.  Throughout the night, the fedora-sporting Slim, AKA Sean Scolnick, reveals a deep passion for growing up on the East Coast, for his family, and for his love of making music.

The music is beautiful, even if it is in a more typically sedate, folk style. But attending a Langhorne Slim show is like going to the circus: Chances are taken, there’s a guy in the middle giving a semblence of control, and the clowns are all around you.

That’s mainly because as much as Slim tells his solo stories and sings his balladeer-style songs, he encourages people in the audience to call out with comments and to sing — loudly if you want.  That permission is granted because it comes from being held back in first grade and being reprimanded by the teacher to “use your six-inch voice,” he said.

Well apparently he certainly never learned that lesson. While his tone is generally low, his ideas and his music is resounding.

The Langhorne Slim Fans

The room is filled with love for this guy. That’s no easy feat at the Largo where comics, comedians and singers are the sole focus of attention on an empty, velvet drapery-swathed stage. The laughs are hard to get.

However, Slim makes it easy, and in fact there was so much love in the room on this particular Wednesday night, audience member Brandon proposed to his girlfriend on the stage. Slim even had a story about how that came to pass.  Not a dry eye in the house when Brandon kneeled down and his girl said yes.

There were some other tender moments during the show which opens with his stories and songs of summer, like “Ocean City,” to songs about people like Slim’s grandfather, “Song For Syd,” the reprise for which is the question: “Where do the great ones go when they’re gone?”  Slim’s grandfather died after battling a stroke and making it all the more emotional was Slim’s cousin Nathan was in the house.

The people who attend the Slim shows are equally as interesting as Slim, including the young comedienne who signed a deal with IFC, the gal who brought her elderly mom to the show, and of course the newly affianced couple.

Langhorne Slim

 

Twain and Langhorne Slim

Opening act, Twain, was spectacular, and his falsetto gave way to truths that were far-reaching and well beyond his youthful appearance. And he’s not singing in a six-inch voice, either.

Other supporting players for the night also included Casey Jane Reece – Kaigler who joined in on stage and also for their appearance at KCRW.

They make a good couple, and one would think there is even a history between them, but apparently there is a history between Slim and a lot of people. When he turned to a female  audience member and said “I feel like I know you,” another close by woman said “You slept with her!”

Clearly not knowing what to do with that moment, Slim took the high road and continued on.

But all joking aside, the music hits home on many levels. This is what Cat Stevens could be had he not self-sabotaged his career.

Slim clearly takes the place of some others like that who have departed, like Dan Fogelberg.  But his style is light like the beloved Jason Mraz and he keeps the night upbeat and is engaged with his audience.

“This is the fourth time I’ve seen Langhorne,” said Virginia. “I didn’t know whether he’d have the full band or not but either way, he’s great and he tells a lot of stories.”

And that’s exactly what he did. He closed out with “Never Break” and that seems to reflect the true troubadour life of Langhorne Slim