Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Say Yes” by Langhorne Slim from his 2009 album Be Set Free on Kemado Records.
Born Sean Scolnick, Langhorne Slim takes his name from the tiny Pennsylvanian town of his birth. My original best friend in the whole wide world came from Pennsylvania, so most people hailing from the great state of horse-drawn buggies, Hershey Park and cheese-steaks usually start off on the right foot with me. As kids, we rode our skateboards around town, sliding this, grinding that and just hanging out the fuck out. It was with this friend that I remember first talking endlessly about music. His opinion was the first that made me hear things in a different way. Basically, I didn’t think too much about what was spinning through my walkman before this guy from PA rolled into town. Yeah, we used to wax on about which Beatles songs were most important (he was all George and oddly enough I was all Paul). Anyway, we also liked to talk about moving to Philly one day, white-heads, dogs, our parents, having wives, hippies (we didn’t like them but the girls were ok) and making art. I guess this moronic digression is just the sort of thing that pops into my head when I hear mention of Langhorne Slim. I think that original best friend of mine might’ve enjoyed a little Langhorne in his ear. “Say Yes,” from the upcoming release, Be Set Free, sees Slim moving strongly in the direction of blues and gospel. Backed by the surprisingly full sounding War Eagles the tune overflows with the blind exuberance of youth and the untarnished positivity of someone experiencing love for the first time. Do you remember that? The way your heart swelled at the thought of her waiting for you with those brown eyes? Oh hell yes, that was good. This song is the opposite of adult-life induced panic and discouragement. “Say Yes” is a flutter not a murmur. The bouncing piano track summons Jerry Lee Lewis, kicked stools and married cousins. OKAY, not the last one but I wanted to make a joke — this song has me smiling and thinking about first this’s and first that’s. Someone from Jersey once said, “’Remember when’ is the lowest form of conversation” but I call bullshit — it’s good to remember simpler times and the lightness of being brought on by a good old fashioned foot stomping sing-along.
Langhorne Slim will be playing in the Northwest really soon, near the end of September, in fact, as he tours a series of free record store appearances surrounding the upcoming release of the new album. His MySpace page has the details. Here he is singing “Be Set Free” at the Portland Pickathon from back in 2007: