Winter Park / Live Music: Whiskey blues with a Southern rock chaser
May 16, 2008
The Grand County Blues Society is pleased to announce a concert with blues journeyman Too Slim and the Taildraggers tonight in Winter Park. For the special spring concert, $10 has been knocked off the regular ticket price.
Tim “Too Slim” Langford got his nickname from a guy he used to be in a band with who thought Langford, who always wore a cowboy hat, looked like Too Slim from Riders in the Sky. The Taildraggers (Dave Nordstrom on bass and vocals and Rudy Simone on drums) earned their nickname from an old Howlin’ Wolf song called “I’m a Taildragger.”
Experiencing a concert with the band is said to be like taking a journey through the history of American music. Influences listed on their MySpace page are “whiskey, wine, gin, sin, cars and guitars.” A Seattle journalist (the band is from Spokane, Wash.) called their music “straight whiskey blues with a Southern rock beer chaser.”
Langford said, “That is about as accurate a description as you are going to get of the band’s sound.”
Although his music continuously evolves and cannot easily be classified, Langford and his band, are known for their eclectic style of funky roots-rock, Americana, Southern swamp rock, down-home blues and instrumental guitar.
Because their repertoire crosses several genres, their sound appeals to audiences from all walks of life.
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Ninety-five percent of the songs they play are their own original compositions, and Langford said he enjoys playing all of them.
“I write songs about life, real or imagined,” he said.
Covers they play include songs by Robert Cray, Bo Diddley, Brian Setzer, Gregg Allman, The Doobie Brothers, Travis Tritt and .38 Special.
The band has released 13 albums so far. Their latest CD, “The Fortune Teller” charted No. 9 on the Billboard Top Blues Album chart last year and into 2008. The band has multiple awards from various northwest blues societies for Best Band and Best Album and was also voted the Best Regional act almost a dozen times by the Cascade Blues Association. They have also been honored in the Hall of Fame in three Northwestern blues societies.
“Too Slim” has also received multiple individual awards as Best Guitarist, Best Slide Guitarist and Best Songwriter. His guitar tunes are said to be reminiscent of ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and he is said to sing with a “been there, done that” honesty. Lyrics on the recent album, which are included in the booklet, “are sharp, funny, and much smarter than they need to be,” said Hal Horowitz, writer for Underworld 13 and the All Music Guide.
The guitarist is the founding member of the band and has been playing music for almost 20 years. He first became interested in being a musician after a ZZ Top concert.
“After that,” he said, “there was no looking back.” Langford also attributes his musical genesis to a cousin who was a bassist, the Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. “I liked the bluesier side of rock.”
His first guitar was a Japanese electric, which he called “The Vegematic” because of how many switches were on it. His current instrument, “a beautiful Les Paul Supreme,” was a gift from his wife.
“It sounds like love,” he said.
Nordstrom, who started playing bass at age 12, played with Langford for seven years before they took in newest member, Simone, to play drums.
Simone, who was a friend of Langford’s son and also played several horn instruments including the trumpet and trombone, was welcomed into the band this year. He played in jazz, rock and reggae bands in college and said when he started playing for Langford and Nordstrom that the three “just clicked. It’s just been great ever since,” he said. “When they first came over it was like an old conversation started back up from the first note. It’s a thrill to be on the team.”
Langford said the upcoming show came about through booking agent Harry Turner, who also books for Jimmy Thackery, a good friend of Langford’s and another GCBS favorite (set to play this year at the Blues From the Top Festival).
“We give 110 percent every show,” he said.