Union Transfer

1026 SPRING GARDEN STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19123 Ι 215-232-2100

Langhorne Slim

Langhorne Slim

Ha Ha Tonka

Fri, June 15, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA

$15.00

This event is all ages

Langhorne Slim
Langhorne Slim
As the phenomena of instant connection and the need for constant self-improvement further implant their tendrils into our culture, the ability to truly connect with each other and ourselves has begun to fade. As we all reach for our smartphones to gaze upon the manufactured perfection of the lives of those we admire, we lose sight of what makes our own lives important.

Nashville’s Langhorne Slim interlaces this theme throughout his new album. “Everyone's searchin' for something better around every corner, but it's already right here,” Langhorne says. “We're all born whole - through livin' we fall apart...”

The songs on Langhorne Slim’s newest album, Lost At Last Vol. 1, out November 10, 2017, challenge the idea of social rigidity: the attitude that there’s a “correct” way for us to live and a side we should be on. He urges the world to see through the idea that by following that path and focusing only on fitting the mold, one will have lived a good life. He re-interprets the sound of the free-spirited yet vulnerable everyman heard on 2015’s The Spirit Moves and brings forth anew the call for us to abandon “the fold” and re-connect with ourselves and each other.

Langhorne Slim is no stranger to the world of popular culture and commercial success. Lost At Last Vol. 1 is his sixth full-length album; throughout his career he has been defined by reflective songwriting and passionate delivery. Slim’s last album cycle alone garnered him his third appearance on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show, as well as a feature on CBS Saturday Morning, and the highest charting debut of his career. O’Brien, a personal fan of Slim stated, “After one listen, I became an instant, almost obsessive fan.” Slim has consistently toured on his own, and has appeared on extensive worldwide runs throughout his career with artists such as The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Gregory Alan Isakov, Josh Ritter, The Devil Makes Three, Sara Watkins, and more. He’s also appeared on many festival stages, such as Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, Outside Lands, Lollapalooza, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Lost At Last Vol. 1 is a record that Langhorne wanted to do differently from the start. “Almost immediately after recording our last record, The Spirit Moves,” Slim says, “I felt a deep desire to make another album. One that would take a step sideways in order to take a step forward; one that would be very personal and raw…in the making of this record, I made a deal with myself to trust my own voice and vision more than I ever have before, and to go willingly wherever it led.”

The title alone reflects his need to pen a great wealth of songs, as if the thoughts and inspiration took on a life of their own and just needed to come out. Recorded over the span of around six months in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Catskill, NY, and clocking in at about 34 minutes, it’s a short but intense listening experience. Several songs are under two or three minutes long, but they pack vivid imagery into concise packages in a way that shows a significant diversion from the songwriting on his previous records. Slim keeps his record-making in the family with this release; longtime band member Malachi DeLorenzo co-produced the record along with Kenny Siegal, and DeLorenzo also mixed several tracks in addition to playing drums on the record.

Slim reflects truths that we may or may not want to admit; in “Life is Confusing”, he muses that “life is confusing, and people are insane”. He stands resolute in the face of trial: “…you could break my heart, but you’ll never break me,” he sings on “Never Break”. He calls upon the listener during this time fraught with challenges to unplug from the trajectory our culture has deemed is “right” and find strength in our own vulnerability, in our own instincts. “We look to our phones, drugs, sex whatever to find ourselves when it's already right here,” Slim says. These songs join in the rallying call for the wild ones in us all.
Ha Ha Tonka
Ha Ha Tonka
"Never. Never ask for what ought to be offered." —Daniel Woodrell, Winter's Bone

There's a certain wisdom that exists in the hills of the Ozarks. It's a wisdom that spits out of the mouths of Woodrell's characters; it's a wisdom that is found in the lyrics by Woodrell's fellow West Plains, Missouri natives, Ha Ha Tonka; and it's a wisdom that's found on the band's new full-length LP, Death of a Decade.

"They say that if you don't change where you're going / you're gonna end up right where you're headed." —Ha Ha Tonka, "Made Example Of"

Recorded in a 200 year old barn in scenic New Paltz, NY with producer Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, The Felice Brothers, The Walkmen), Death of a Decade began as a stripped down record, rich with warm tones that could only be captured under a 30 foot roof of a barn. "We wanted to make sure we left in all the imperfections of the barn such as the chairs squeaking and the boards creaking", explains lead singer Brian Roberts. After tracking the songs in this rough hewn setting, the files were shipped to hAUs Studio in Kansas City, MO where The Ryantist mixed and manipulated synthetic sonic threads into this organic tapestry. Death of a Decade is where authentic meets synthetic, acoustic meets electronic, and tradition meets innovation.

Thematically, Death of a Decade is less "story-based" than Ha Ha Tonka's previous work (which pulled heavily from Missouri history and folklore for its lyrics), with the band now focusing on the transition into manhood—something that doesn't automatically come once you pass a certain age: "I realize that youth is wasted on the young," Roberts sings on "Westward Bound," "Oh, I know that now my wasting days are done."

However, Roberts says, Death of a Decade is not meant to be a requiem for lost youth, but rather an embrace of the notion that the passage of time is better than the alternative. There you have it again: the wisdom of the Ozarks.

Even if the album's songs aren't specifically of the Ozarks, the sound is—still present is the traditional instrumentation (just listen to guitarist Brett Anderson's arpeggio mandolin lines on "Usual Suspects" and "Made Example Of"), with bassist Lucas Long and drummer Lennon Bone rounding out the rhythm section to stampeding affect. Still present are the spine-tingling four-part gospel harmonies, a signature sound that sets Ha Ha Tonka apart from every other indie band-cum-Southern rock group that seems to be shambling out of the suburban woods these days.

Ultimately, what makes the Ha Ha Tonka brand of Southern rock so special is that it's authentic, it's effortless, and it never comes across as forced. They are masters at bringing together the traditional and the modern. They sit at the crossroads of Americana and indie, where Alabama meets Arcade Fire – shakes their hand and takes them out for a drink.

So, back to Woodrell's Ozarkian wisdom from "Winter's Bone," being considered one of the best bands you'll discover (or rediscover) in 2011 isn't something Ha Ha Tonka ought need to ask for—it will be offered.

More about HHT: Named after Ha Ha Tonka State Park in their native Missouri, the group's relentless touring has seen them become one of the most buzzed about young bands in America, appearing at Lollapalooza, Sundance Film Fest, SXSW, CMJ while touring nationally as a headlining act, as well as supporting many great bands such as Old 97s, Murder By Death, Langhorne Slim, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin, Ludo, Meat Puppets and more.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123