TOO SLIM AND THE TAILDRAGGERS
Shiver
(Underworld Records)

 

The sound of electric blues-rock comes alive with a new zing on the latest venture from guitar rockers Too Slim And The Taildraggers. With a range of compelling and convincing musical moves on hand, the 12 track Shiver has all the hallmarks of a classic blues-rock album. Singer / songwriter and guitar slinger Tim Langford receives solid backup from new group bassist Polly O’Keary and drummer Tommy Cook. Langford has released over a dozen albums with Too Slim and as a solo artist, and all told, Shiver captures a stellar performance of guitar laced, blues rock tracks that should have wide appeal among fans of rock legends such as ZZ Top, The Allman Brothers, John Fogerty and more. That said, it's hard to imagine that Langford hails from the Northwest U.S. as you’d swear he had just rolled in off the Mississippi Delta heading straight across Texas state. Owning up to his Washington roots, Langford does indeed close out the Shiver album with a track entitled “Bucerius”—the album's only instrumental and a track that pays tribute to the instrumental guitar bands that hailed out of the American Northwest back in the 1960's. www.TooSlim.org


mwe3.com presents an interview with

TIM “TOO SLIM” LANGFORD



mwe3: Hi Tim, where do you live now and can you say something about where you grew up and what made you decide to become a musician?

TIM LANGFORD: I currently live in Seattle, Washington. Seattle is a great music city and has such a diverse musical history, I love the vibe. I grew up in Spokane, which is on the other side of the state, it was quite a different scene, but Spokane had a lot of great musicians. I have always been into music since I was very young. I had a cousin who played guitar and when I was a teenager I started going to concerts. I saw ZZ Top live and that really inspired me to want to play. A friend loaned me his acoustic guitar and I never looked back.

mwe3: Fans are calling your new album with Too Slim And The Taildraggers, Shiver your masterpiece. Where does the CD find you in your career and what did you set out to accomplish musically on this new album?

TL: I am flattered that fans are enjoying the CD so much. I worked hard on the songs to make them to where I felt good about them. I really enjoy the song writing part of making a new CD. It’s an awesome feeling when you get positive feedback. I try to make the songs interesting for the listener and the band. It’s very challenging from album to album to try and raise the bar and make it better than the one before. Career-wise I strive to become a better songwriter and performer. Musically I wanted to achieve a blend of all the different influences I have absorbed over the years, and blur the lines between blues and rock.

mwe3: Can you say something about the other musicians and guest artists who recorded the Shiver album with you? Where was the album recorded and over what period of time were the songs written?

TL: The songs were written over the year prior to the session. I always make demos of the songs on my home studio and try to fine tune them and get the arrangements down before I introduce them to the band. We recorded at Egg studio in Seattle, Washington with Conrad Uno who is a legendary fellow in the Seattle music scene. Conrad had Popllama Records in the ‘90s and recorded bands like the Presidents of The United States of America and the Fastbacks to name a few. This is the first time I have recorded in Seattle. I produced Shiver myself but Conrad Uno was my go to guy when I had doubts. He had a lot of great input so I really feel he was a co-producer. It was also the first CD I recorded with my current band, who are very good musicians. Tommy Cook is the drummer and Polly O’Keary is the bass player. They did a wonderful job and added a great feel to the songs. I did not start out with the idea to have guest artists on the album. I met the Texas Horns in Canada at the Ottawa Blues Festival. They sat in with us and sounded like they had been with the band forever. I started thinking about horns on some of the songs but did not want to overdo it. Kaz Kazanoff did the arrangements and I think what he did was just right and did not overpower the songs. I also had one song that I really felt needed a great soul voice to sing it and I thought of Curtis Salgado. He liked the song, agreed to sing and he just nailed it. His performance on the CD was a complete take from beginning to end. The same sort of thing happened with Duffy Bishop on the title track. She just happened to be in Seattle performing during the recording session, so I gave her a call. I think she was a perfect fit for the song. My son Austin also played all the lead guitar on the title track. I brought him with me to the studio on his birthday and just put him on the spot and handed him the guitar. He really nailed it, and actually came up with a great hook. Austin is a very good guitar player and I really want to do a project with him soon.

mwe3: Who were your big guitar heroes growing up and which guitar legends and new bands do you listen to today?

TL: My favorite guitar player growing up was Duane Allman. I was also heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, John Fogerty, Santana, Billy Gibbons, Otis Rush, Freddy King and BB King and Lightning Hopkins. I also enjoy Neil Young and bands ranging from Black Sabbath and AC/DC to people like Charlie Christian and Pat Metheny. I like all kinds of music. I still listen to all these artists today. Some of my newer favorite bands are James McMurtry and Drive By Truckers.

mwe3: Which guitars did you record the Shiver album with and what amps, picks and strings do you use mostly? How many guitars do you own and what are some of your other favorite guitars?

TL: I used as many of my guitars as I could on Shiver. My favorite recording guitar is my Les Paul Supreme. It has a very special tone. I also used a Les Paul smartwood guitar that I have and a Gibson ES 295, a 1981 gold Stratocaster, a Warmoth Strat, a Warmoth Les Paulocaster, a Reverend Volcano Flying V, a Reverend Warhawk, a Carvin California special and a custom dobro that my wife Nancy had built for me. I own about 20 guitars if I am remembering correctly. As far as amps are concerned, I used my Mesa Boogie 5/50 express exclusively on the recording of Shiver. That amp has a huge range of guitar tones that you can squeeze out of it. I also own a late ‘60s Fender Super Reverb, a Fender Bassman, a Fender Blues Junior, a Reverend 40/60 Hellhound and a Line 6. For effects, I used a T.C. Electronics Nova System. I have an endorsement with Elixir guitar strings, which are awesome and last forever!! I use Armor gold guitar cables and I use the green Tortex picks.

mwe3: How many albums you’ve recorded and released with Too Slim & The Taildraggers and as a solo artist and how would you say the body of work reflects your career and musical evolution? When did you start recording and are all the Too Slim And The Taildraggers albums in print. I’m curious what would a Too Slim / Tim Langford CD box set or career retrospective look like?

TL: I have done ten studio albums as Too Slim And The Taildraggers, four live albums, two solo and one compilation. The first Too Slim And The Taildraggers CD was recorded about late 1987-88. I feel the recordings reflect the musical growth and evolution of the band pretty accurately. The early recordings are all very raw and recorded on low budgets and done live with a just a few overdubs. We got a little bigger budget on about the fourth album. About that time I felt more comfortable in the studio and started using the studio more as a tool. I feel it’s a natural progression to use the studio in a more creative way once you have been in there a time or two. I certainly don’t want to make the same record over and over again. The CDs are all available in a digital format. All the studio albums are available on CD as well. Some of the live CDs are out of print in a CD format, but I’m not saying they might not be reissued someday. I am not ready to think about the box set yet because I feel there is more to come!

mwe3: How would you compare working live to recording in the studio? Which do you prefer and have you released DVDs of your band?

TL: I love to play live! I also love the studio, but for very different reasons. I prefer the live shows from a performance standpoint. I like the spontaneous feel of performing for the crowd. I feel that you have to play your best every night. You are only as good as your last show in the public’s eye, so if you want to get new fans you give it your all. I like the creative part of the studio. You can experiment and develop new sounds. It’s always fun to take the things you do in the studio and try to pull it off live. It can be especially challenging in a trio format. There are no Too Slim And The Taildraggers DVDs out yet but I’d love to do one if it was done the right way.

mwe3: The Shiver CD closes out with an instrumental track that shows another side of your recorded sound. I heard that it evokes memories of the guitar bands that came out of your Washington state hometown. Your instrumental sound is great. How many instrumentals have you recorded over the years and what are some of your favorite instrumental guitar bands, songs and albums?

TL: Almost all of the Too Slim & The Taildraggers studio albums contain at least one instrumental. I love guitar instrumental music and the Northwest had bands like The Sonics and The Wailers and The Ventures. I guess I have absorbed that influence. I also was a Duane Eddy and Link Wray fan. We have covered both of those artists on some of our CDs in the past. I could do a whole night of instrumentals if I had to. It came in handy some times when I would get a sore throat on the road. The instrumental called “Bucerius” on Shiver is the name of a village in Mexico where Nancy and I got married. The vibe of the song is how I felt when we were there. I guess my intention was to give the listener that same feeling I had via the melody of the song. It’s really just a love song without lyrics. I hope I nailed it!

mwe3: How about future plans moving forward into 2012, and how about live shows and future recordings?

TL: We expect to do lots of live shows in 2012. Shiver seems to be opening up some new doors. We try to limit the amount of shows these days to 100-125. I’d love to do an acoustic album this winter for release in 2012. I already have a bunch of new song ideas so, we’ll probably do a new Too Slim And The Taildraggers CD next fall to be released in early 2013. Hopefully people will want to listen!


Thanks to Tim “Too Slim” Langford & Nancy Langford @ www.TooSlim.org


 

 
   
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