Over the past several years, Billy Kearins (Founder of COAST) “found his groove” hosting established and emerging songwriters in what he calls the “indie folk and Americana music scene.” And on Thursday, Nov. 30, COAST will kickoff the “COAST is Clear Benefit Concert” to support those affected in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
“Keep it simple,” said Kearins. “Nothing too loud or over-the-top. Make the message count and stay cool. That’s what these guys and we at COAST are trying to do to make the world a better place. And in a sense, that’s what this benefit is all about.”
Amongst the acclaimed performers set to play, perhaps none other than Langhorne Slim embodies the vibe that Kearins so consistently features within his COAST productions. And for Langhorne, (or Slim, as many call him) who might very well be riding the pinnacle of a surging career — his humble approach echoes the very identity of the festival.
“It’s just cool to get away from the ‘me, me, me’ mentality that’s out there,” said Langhorne. “I know the Keys have been through a lot and it’s a privilege for me. I’m just honored to be a part of something, anything, bigger than myself.”
Langhorne says he first met Kearins during a previous trip to the Keys when he had the privilege to see G. Love on the COAST stage. For Slim, G. Love served as a source of influence going back to their Philly roots and he was reluctant to go back stage for a meet.
“I don’t care who they are,” said Langhorne. “I always try to be respectful to people after they perform and give them a chance to gather themselves. But my friend walked me back there and [G. Love] looked up and said ‘Langhorne Slim!’ And that was cool moment for me. I’m excited to come back down and I hope to have a chance to collaborate with him.”
Aside from G. Love, Langhorne, whose style has been defined as everything from folk pop to soulful blues, says many of his influences stem from singer songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.
“Leonard Cohen puts it in a way that is beautiful and profound,” said Langhorne. “And that’s what we all strive for. To awaken the truth within yourself. When you’re able to do that, your audience is able to walk away with it too and I guess that’s what I hope people in Key West will get out of hearing me and the other incredible artists at this event.”
For the few who are unfamiliar with Langhorne’s work, odds are they’ve inadvertently heard him on a wide range of commercials and movies, including Microsoft, Coca Cola and Travelers Insurance bits. And for an artist who is known for his individuality through mainstream disconnects, the irony is not lost on him.
“For a guy who has been playing and writing since his teens, there was a time I never thought I would hear myself in advertisements,” said Langhorne. “But it has honestly been a great way for me to make a living and for my band brothers to make a living. I won’t dance with someone I don’t feel good about, but as an artist, and maybe even selfishly, I’m grateful to have another means to be heard.”
For most music fans, Langhorne Slim has become one of the most sought after names and acts amongst some of music’s biggest names. In fact, the day before he is scheduled to arrive in Key West, Langhorne will be performing live on the Conan O’Brien show and hopes fans will check out the set (unless it airs on the same night as the festival). Either way, music fans throughout the Keys will have a chance to hear Langhorne, an artist among artist at festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, in the rustic intimacy of a COAST stage beginning Thursday, Nov. 30. For tickets visit www.coastprojects.com/store