At age 14, Sean Scolnick started writing his first songs, penning Nirvana-inspired missives about authority, school and, as he said in an OC Weekly interview, “stuff that a lot of 14-year-old kids probably write about.” Now in his early 30s, Scolnick doesn't employ those subjects as inspiration anymore. Listening to his story-heavy goulash of Folk and AltCountry reveals nary any traces of Cobain and Co. at all.
That said, he still keenly maintains the bright-eyed vibrancy of someone much his junior while working as Langhorne Slim, the hat-smitten singer/guitarist who also doubles as the leader of a four-piece called Langhorne Slim & the Law. Sure, the Portland, Ore.-based Scolnick (who cribbed the first portion of his alias from his Pennsylvania hometown) has written some downbeat tunes (like the regretful “Colette”), but he's also responsible for some awfully positive numbers, too. “Rebel Side of Heaven” off 2010's Langhorne Slim is a tender slice of mid-paced, organ-and-brass-inflected Americana Rock in which Scolnick sings about finding his own special terrain in the afterlife in spite of his several sins. “We could not find China or Hell,” he declares at one verse's close, “So we just dug ourselves into the rebel side of Heaven.” Slim sings this sentiment with such optimism that you almost want to commit some crimes just to end up wherever he lands. Attending Slim’s show this Friday is the much smarter alternative.
LANGHORNE SLIM & THE LAW performs Friday, Jan. 11 with Grace Potter & the Nocturnals at Taft Theatre Downtown. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.