Langhorne Slim is a minimalist existing on an expansionist’s plane. His simple folk songs coast on a majestic undertow, like the common act of waking up to the most uncommonly beautiful sunrise you’ve ever seen. He’s a man of extremes, and on Be Set Free he astonishingly mixes the humble and the grand into a completely believable, legitimate and strikingly lovely sound that could crush your average soft boy guitarist without so much as a right hook.
But don’t take all the vast nature allusions to mean he’s some sort of folksy earth brother. With soulful, country songwriting chops and the voice of a less-wearied Cat Stevens, Slim occupies a hard-to-find spot on the map that most musicians only dream of finding; one where the devil and the downtrodden meet at the crossroads. The deal is forged on the dark entreaty “For a Little While,” a barrage of heartache that leaves you gasping for air and reminds you why people are so addicted to the pain. It’s self-indulgent, but most art is. Be Set Free is a masterpiece. At times toe-tapping, at times slow as honey, it’s as close to perfect as I’ve heard all year.
Langhorne Slim will perform at The Earl in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 14.
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