It certainly did no harm for Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, so Tim ‘Too Slim’ Langford has passed the first test of blues sainthood with a name deviation. Seriously, the thousands of records he’s shifted as front man of Too Slim and the Tail Draggers has also adhered him to the blues community and now thirteen years after his previous solo release, the time has arrived to indulge again in a little dose of self effacing acoustic blues. With the freedom to roam, Langford, via eleven brand new self-penned tracks, has exerted his creative license on a set of material that is experimental in style without veering too far away from the strict demands of blues connoisseurs. BROKEN HALO is an evolution of guitar diversity that has the potential to engage the wider Americana community to fully justify this rare solo excursion for Langford.For those who prefer their blues a little less intense, the appealing friendly upbeat sound attached to the title track ‘Broken Halo’ will arouse attention while those with a keen ear to the intrinsic sound of string-based instrumentals will revel in the Hispanic feel to ‘La Llorona’ and to the ukulele that provides a the backdrop to ‘Princeville Serenade’. Langford transports us many miles south east from his Pacific North West roots to the land of the delta with ‘You Hide It Well’ while it’s straight down the middle traditional blues accompanying the personal recollections providing the inspiration for ‘North Dakota Girl’.
The lyrical content of many of the songs highlights the wordsmith talents of Langford and blue is the appropriate colour for the language littering ’40 Watt Bulb’ while ‘Shaking the Cup’ with harmonica backing and stuttering structure will resonate with any struggling artist. The concluding track ‘Gracie’ shows the sentimental and tender side of Langford’s artistry with it being impossible not to feel moved by this account of family memories.While this release does not stray too far away from the spirit of the blues, the craftsmanship derived from experimenting with a multitude of guitars from dobra to slide coupled with Langford’s ability to construct a song, has created an album with the potential to broaden appeal. Therefore the decision to take a hiatus from the Tail Draggers has been fully justified.