The Skinny On Slim

Twelve. Twelve. Twelve. If it happens to be your lucky number (and how could it not be?) then you’ll find this week’s lineup an alignment of the planets. But isn’t that the day the world’s supposed to end? Oh no, that’s 12/21/12, so again, lucky us! We’ve got stars of folk and fingerstyle, an American Idol and a Daredevil. One of our bands claims to be cursed, but we’ll overwhelm that with the power of twelve and some of the Black Cat Oil left behind by Delta Moon last Wednesday.

I suspect we’ll have lots of folks coming out or tuning in for Langhorne Slim, who has emerged gradually but convincingly over the last five years as a top tier indie folk artist. If the Lumineers should happen to win the folk Grammy for which they were just nominated, they should thank Slim for pointing the way. He was delivering exuberant, open-throated, foot-stomping songs in the early 2000s. From bases in Brooklyn and then Portland, OR, Slim has become a fascinating and irresistible figure. His chapped but grand voice and his layered songs invite sustained attention. His current album The Way We Move has been the object of huge acclaim and affection. But his live show is the place where Langhorne Slim (leader plus a band of three) really shows his stuff. “I wanna make peoples’ heads explode with good feelings,” he told Daytrotter back in 2008. “I would like to move people and be moved.” That’s what happens. Trust us.

Paul McDonald seemed too cool for the room when he appeared on American Idol in 2011, and it was no surprise he didn’t take the crown because the show is not geared to guys with voices with this much character and uniqueness. It’s a bit of David Gray mingled with Rod Stewart, and it’s always expressive and sincere. Word is that we get Paul’s other half in the deal this week, so fans of the musical romance of McDonald and Nikki Reed will want to come out. They’ve hit a wave, with a huge song placement at the very end of the Twilight film series, among other victories. So while we’re generally not really Idol/Twilight sort of territory over at the Loveless, McDonald’s organic and textured pop will be more than welcome.

The only black cloud hanging over Annabelle’s Curse is that they’re not better known out of their home area, but that’s sure to change. Recently formed in the great music town of Bristol TN/VA, this acoustic trio of Tim Kilbourne, Zack Edwards and John Watson is ready for its close-up. Their debut album Monsters is a great calling card, and their live show impressed the staff and fans at their hometown Rhythm & Roots Reunion festival. Their old-time meets new-frontier philosophy sounds right in line with us.

Rounding out the bill this December night will be Nashville’s musical mega-character Michael “Supe” Granda and guitar virtuoso Bill Mize. Supe was a founding member of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, one of the bands to popularize the country-rock movement of the early 70s. In more recent years, Supe has led bands, cracked one-liners and written funny and engaging songs. He also knows great musicians and he’ll likely bring an interesting crew. And for the guitar nuts in our crowd (myself included) we’ll soak in the complex and nuanced fingerstyle guitar of Bill Mize. The Tennessee guitarist is a Winfield guitar champion, which is the gold standard for the art form. His recent Angel’s Share album was hailed as a must-have in the acoustic guitar press.

So it doesn’t get much more well rounded than that. I can think of at least a dozen reasons to come out and join us.

Craig H.

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