Langhorne Slim

 My roommate gets mistaken for Matt Hudgins around town on occasion.  Last night I saw the real Hudgins, a friendly bear in sport coat and sneakers, fronting his Shit-Hot Country Band.  It’s embarrassing to admit this was my first Shit-Hot experience. Naturally, with a name like that you expect the band to eschew the pop side of the country community and remain parked in rougher neighborhoods. A little outlaw, a little unhinged—songs like “Wilkes County Jail†and “The Hitmaker†are immediately endearing, easy to drink to, vaguely personal and pretty sing-a-long-able—the trademarks of timeless country music. I told my roommate it’s not so bad to have such a righteous doppelganger.    

The Holy Ghost Tent Revival are six instantly upbeat dudes from Greensboro, NC—well-dressed gentlemen offering Appalachian-swing and a dash of Dixieland brass.  The band, especially enthusiastic during roaring epic “Walking Over My Grave,†is definitely RIYL: Avett Brothers, The Corduroy Road, Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The apparel for sale at the merchandise table is worth mentioning. HGTR is slinging various articles of obvious thrift store finds emblazoned with hand sewn homemade patches featuring the bands name in handwriting.

Opening with call and response rave-up “Cinderella†from 2009’s excellent Be Set Free, Langhorne Slim took the stage resembling a droog in a Canadian tuxedo then almost immediately lost his hat and captured the audience with manic showmanship, deft guitar work and so many great songs.  Having the very talented David Moore nailing it on banjo and keys all night doesn’t hurt.  Upon hearing the especially electrified boogie “Fire†I’m curious to hear the new record that Slim promised the crowd would be out in May. And after hearing “Collette,†being a fan of unrushed Americana and a glutton for songs about women that make our man hearts shiver and bellies ache, I decided to pay cash now for the 2008 self-titled release. The encore, a mostly solo acoustic, but ultimately full-band version of “Be Set Free†was a perfect soundtrack for exiting the club into the brisk winter drizzle.