Too Slim and the Taildraggers
The 11 songs that appear on Free Your Mind, the 10th studio album from Seattle-based Too Slim and the Taildraggers, are the result of a touring hiatus in December 2007 and January 2008. “It was the first time I actually took time off specifically to write songs,” remembers band leader Tim Langford (AKA Too Slim), “and I’m very pleased with the results.”
The songs on Free Your Mind are a slice of American roots music, with blues, Americana and rock influences. “The songwriting process is something that I really enjoy, but it can also drive you a little crazy,” says the lead singer/guitarist. “I always try to write down ideas or phrases that I hear in everyday life that could be song titles. Some songs are inspired by personal experiences and some are just observations of life as I see it. For instance, the lyrics on the song ‘Last Train’ were inspired by reading stories from one day of the Seattle Times newspaper. I was actually laughing out loud - and was appalled at the same time - by the articles I was reading. The chorus just came out of me as I was running through a rough draft of the song: ‘Feel like I’m riding on the last train, with cracks in the wheels, headed for a big bang. Feel like I’m riding on the last train and Hunter S. Thompson is the engineer.’ It seemed to sum up the absurdity of the world events on that particular day. I like the variety of the music on Free Your Mind. There are songs of love, perseverance, faith, fiction, frustration and the craziness of everyday life,” adds Langford..
Tim Langford worked again with producer Todd Smallwood on the new album. Smallwood also co-produced the band’s last CD, The Fortune Teller. “I really enjoyed working in the studio with Todd,” says Tim. “He had great ideas, and has the recording process down to an art. He is an extremely talented producer and musician, and played Hammond organ and 12-string guitar on the recording, too.
Todd’s studio is in the middle of an avocado grove in the Santa Paula area of California. It’s a very nice setting and the sun was shining everyday, which was a wonderful environment in which to record. We recorded at three separate sessions starting in September 2008 through November 2008. I went in the studio with the band and we ran through all the songs live and got the rhythm tracks down at the first session. Then, I returned on my own the second time for guitar overdubs and vocals. At the third session, Todd and I put the finishing touches on the album. We then left Todd alone to finish the mixes and work his creative magic. We recorded all the guitars straight through a Peavey Classic 50 guitar amp and a Fender Deluxe Reverb in the back room of the studio with no effects. I received a Les Paul Supreme guitar last year on my birthday from my lovely wife and manager,