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Fighting the Winter Blues: Too Slim and the Taildraggers play blues for all seasons 

click to enlarge Blues through the fisheye.
  • Blues through the fisheye.
Blues through the fisheye.
Tim Langford has seen some of the wildest weather of his life in the recent weeks. More than a foot of snow fell outside his downtown Seattle home, which forced someone to abandon a city bus in front of his house. Not long afterwards he was dealing with flooding from the melting snow. And the road didn't offer any refuge for Langford, better known as Too Slim, who had a large-scale Christmas show slated in Spokane canceled before the holidays when some five feet of snow fell on that city - which happens to be his hometown.

But with I-5 reopened and a freakish warming trend hitting the Northwest, all looks good for Too Slim and the Taildraggers' show at the Domino Room on Friday night. With the tumultuous weather behind him, Langford is excited to get back on the stage - something he's been doing for much of his life and more than 20 years alone with his current band.

"It's really hard for me to comprehend, 'cause it doesn't seem like it's been that long. When we started we were a bunch of young and rambunctious kids going for it. But I'm still doing it," says Langford, who then provides an earnest laugh.

In fact it has been that long - all the way since 1986, to be exact. There have been some personnel changes along the way, but the Taildraggers name has persevered and cultivated along the way a group of diehard fans largely contained within the Northwest that have come to love the blues-laced rock and roots music the band has spread over the course of what is soon to be 10 studio albums.

The Taildraggers are familiar with blues festival stages and are almost always grouped into a "blues" category in record stores. But at the end of the day, the band is as much an eclectic rock trio as it is a blues outfit. Yes, the foundations of the blues can be heard in nearly every Taildraggers song, but equally audible are Americana and roots influences.

"I've had people tell me that it sounds like anything from Tom Petty to Credence Clearwater - just all kinds of different influences. But for the most part I'm just focusing on writing songs, not worrying about fitting in the blues genre," Langford says.

When I say that some of the band's last album (Fortune Teller) reminded me of Drive-By Truckers, Langford admits that the Truckers are probably one of his all-time favorite bands. We talk about the Truckers' 2008 release Brighter Than Creation's Dark, and Langford says he loved the album, but thought the 19-track record was exhaustingly long. He goes on to say that the Taildraggers' next album, Free Your Mind, which is slated for a March release, will be only 11 tracks and, like the music of the Truckers, will incorporate several styles, with much of it flavored with hints of the blues. Since his youth in Spokane, blues has been a cornerstone of Langford's musical career-even when he wasn't playing in blues-specific acts.

"I consider myself a blues player and that's where my roots are. It's always there and I can't get it out of me. It's like Eric Clapton-if he plays blues he knows how to play it, but he's also covered so many other styles over the years," Langford says, "I really appreciate artists who can do that."

And there are a lot of people who appreciate what Langford does and should continue to come out to see him do it - weather permitting, of course.

Too Slim and the Taildraggers
8pm doors, 9pm show. Friday, January 16. Domino Room, 51 NW Greenwood Ave. $14/advance, $16/door. Tickets at Ranch Records and All ages.


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