Turning 30 is an exciting time. You get more serious about your work. Maybe settle down romantically. And in the case of Langhorne Slim, you start paying rent.
Yes, the Americana singer/songwriter managed to make it through his 20s without paying any rent, until recently relocating to Portland, Ore.
“It sounds really cool now … but I was just trying to make this thing happen,” said Slim, né Sean Scolnick. “So it was lucky I ran into enough people that have couches.”
Obviously, it’s a much easier feat if you’re on the road nine months a year, as Slim has been the past half-dozen years since forming his band.
Before that, he toured solo, beginning his senior year at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College. He’s thankful to have graduated, since he spent less time in class than your typical high school senior.
“I was extremely fortunate that the teachers I had viewed that as ‘what this guy wants to do with his life,’ and saw it was sort of an education, instead of sitting in class trying to figure out what the heck was going on,” said Slim.
Slim has been home-recording and self-releasing music since the late ’90s, with a brief stay at V2 Records in the mid ’00s, until the major label went under. His latest album, 2009’s “Be Set Free,” is much richer than his prior folk-blues output. Although the arrangements are much fuller, enriched with a variety of sonic and instrumental touches, Slim continues to prefer a rather artless directness that abets the songs’ emotional immediacy.
I ran into enough people that have couches.
“To some people I’ve kept it too simple,” Slim said. “But the artists I’m most drawn to use a more straightforward approach based more on the raw emotion rather than complex lyrics.”
To replicate this bigger sound live, Slim’s band numbers four members.
“You’re always trying to keep things fresh and breathe new life into them,” he said. “When you’re doing this for your life, you have to consider ways to continue to grow and make it exciting.”
Slim’s written more songs for his forthcoming album than he’s ever written before heading into the studio: at least 60. He’s expecting it to be his rawest disc to date.
“Something is brewing, and I’m very musically excited right now,” Slim said. “I don’t know if it happens because you turn an age, or you are conditioned to feel like you need to get your shit together more. But definitely in my life, I feel like instead of watching it pass by and hoping for the best, I have more ability to control my own destiny.”