Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Patrick Stolley
Langhorne Slim may have been wearing all of the exact same things that he had worn the last time he visited. It was the same Buster Keaton-esque, debonair hitchhiker's pork pie hat with a pheasant's feather sticking out of it, sitting on top of and over his tussled head of brown hair and the boots that he was wearing were the same battered two that he had on two years prior, when they spent one sleepless day here in the middle of one of the hottest patches of summertime heat and humidity. The sweat that they have, the sweat that rolls from them, is the sweat that they seem to keep for days and days, weeks even because everyone knows it's not easy to stay clean on the road.
Bassist Paul Defiglia and drummer Malachi DeLorenzo were in the same shape, also probably wearing all of the same duds that had become second skins for them. Their hands were clammy with oiliness and dirt, their nails were dark underneath. All of this means that they were in the finest form to play their music - they were their own music to a degree. They were running on fumes, but fumes are their jet fuel. These fumes force the trio of pals to shake themselves into a condition to perform, to be hot, to lay things all out on the line - for fumes are an indication of the end and they play as urgently as they can, it seems, every time. They give in to the abandonment of necessities, to the abandonment of sleep, food and adornment, only to give in to a gluttony of self-medication and doing all that they can to keep themselves as relatively tilted, but upright as Defiglia's bass hangs. They get by so meagerly, but they do have a van now, a unique luxury compared to the grandmotherly Toyota they were forced to travel in up until not all that long ago. That shit doesn't matter though.
Materially, they subsist on fleeting acquaintances and enduring beliefs in the benefit of general benevolence and unforced refinement of the soul. They do what they do not for anyone other than themselves, sort of like how the bellies of trees in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire don't necessarily mean to turn the colors of indefinable splendor during the early fall months, but they do it anyway, without hesitation, giving it, all of it away for free. Langhorne Slim, Defiglia and DeLorenzo still find ways to be lit up about what they do and how they deal with this disfigured world, that spins sometimes completely blindfolded, is noble and inspiring. They invoke a rural take on the Summer of Love theatrics, looking at the difficulties that abound and understanding that finding a happy ground to be satisfied with is the most important thing there is. Slim seems to discover these women out there that he simply can't live without (in song at least), but there's no stunted or elementary impetus behind these affairs of the heart.
They are about the kinds of deeper interactions between two people that if they're missing, or go unfulfilled, rot a person from the inside. It's got something to do with not being heard, not being appreciated as someone who could be loved forever. He puts all of his chips into the middle, pushing them out with both hands as he leans forward, then sits back with a sigh. He does this a lot, giving into the feeling of lonesomeness and longing a delightful number of times. There's always that wish for a happy ending, for resolution and for authentic comfort. It's a lot of work to get to that point though, as the songs that have come out of his mouth have tried to explain.
He sings, "It's alright to get happy along the way," in "Diamonds and Gold" and it's a blatant mantra that suggests that things don't have to be happy from the onset, they can get there, they can develop. It's a continuation of the bigger mantra that goes something like, "Falling's not that big of deal," because as long as he's got those breaths for singing, those lips for kissing, monies are secondary and happiness will get here. They show no indifference, the members of this band, but they do show an appropriate sort of fawning over the way things are, when they get tough and when they let up. Life is crazy, they say, and they love all of the animals - dirty ones, clean ones and all those without a proper night's sleep.