Curiously eccentric but never dull, Langhorne Slim has reached a new high with this album. Recently sober and relocated to Nashville, he teams with engineer Andrija Tokic at the latter’s Bomb Shelter Studio, where good things have been happening (the Alabama Shakes also record there). And Slim is more reflective now, his banjo-driven rock-folk-pop hybrid increased in artistry and depth. Positive messages adorn “Spirit Moves” (with a touch of mariachi horns) and the shuffling, Paul Simon-esque “Meet Again,” with its confession that “I would hold you in my arms and I’d take back all I’d done wrong.” He expresses repentance again in “Strangers” (“there was a devil in me, now I’ve set him free”) and stares reality in the face in the rocking “Southern Bells” (“we all fall down, no one said it would be easy”). With a high-pitched, almost Neil Young timbre to his voice, Slim sings that “I’m going through changes now” — said changes amounting to a highly listenable rebirth. (Out Friday)
Essential “Spirit Moves”
Steve Morse can be reached at email@example.com.