Essential New Music: Langhorne Slim’s “Lost At Last, Vol 1”

Langhorne Slim has a striking tenor that imbues his songs with an aching sense of melancholy and uncertainty. On Lost At Last, Vol 1, he trusted in the spontaneous nature of creation, letting the songs dictate the direction the arrangements would take. Eighteen players joined him in the studio, but they remain in the background, mixed down to add subtle, almost invisible nuance to these bleak songs of heartache and dejection. Droning fiddle and sprightly acoustic guitar add tension to “Life Is Confusing” as Slim repeats the tag line until it begins to lose meaning. A marijuana farmer who’s hiding from the law confesses his crimes on “Private Property,” wondering why he’s been busted for “planting seeds on my private property.” Slim takes on the myth of true love and happy endings on “Zombie,” “Alligator Girl” and “Never Break,” promising to follow where love leads him, even when it’s to the brink of disaster.

—j. poet