Too Slim and the Taildraggers play at Tuffy's Roudhouse at 8 p.m. Saturday.

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Too Slim and the Taildraggers play at Tuffy's Roudhouse at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Ain't nothin' but the blues

Despite his genre, things going well for Too Slim

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Past Event

Too Slim and the Taildraggers, country

  • Saturday, May 17, 2008, 8 p.m.
  • Hahn's Peak Roadhouse, 60880 County Road 129, Hahn's Peak, CO
  • Not available / $10 - $15

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— Tim "Too Slim" Langford's latest blues-rock record doesn't hit stores until May 22.

But for the past six months, "The Fortune Teller" has ridden the Billboard blues charts, breaking into the Top 10 on Internet and show sales alone.

Langford attributes that feat to a changing business model, a devoted Northwestern fan base and a lifelong love of the blues and the music it inspired.

On Saturday, Langford's band, Too Slim and the Taildraggers, plays at Tuffy's Roadhouse in Clark. He spoke with 4 Points about finding his favorites in the blues, the evolution of his music and keeping with the times as the music industry changes.

4 POINTS: How did you get into playing blues-influenced rock?

TIM "TOO SLIM" LANGFORD: Just kind of when I just started playing music, I just kind of gravitated toward that kind of stuff, bands like The Allman Brothers and (Eric) Clapton and ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

And when I started playing guitar, I figured out that those guys were listening to stuff like B.B. King, Freddie King, Lightnin' Hopkins and Muddy Waters. So I started working my way backward through music history. And I like jazz and country music, too, so I like to play a little bit of everything.

4 POINTS: How long have you been playing guitar?

TL: I've been playing guitar : I don't know, most of my life, actually. I've actually had this band for about 20 years.

4 POINTS: Has your sound changed any in that time?

TL: It probably evolves from where I was when I originally started. it was more straight ahead blues, and now it's more a conglomeration of different styles. We incorporate a lot of roots rock and Americana, and create kind of a stew of American music.

We play almost all originals. : We do some covers of our favorite blues songs, but our material is blues-rock and a little bit of country. It's just a real mishmash - like a slice of apple pie.

4 POINTS: Just as American as you can get. I saw that your most recent record has done pretty well on the Billboard charts. How do you feel about that?

TL: It's great, it's very exciting. And then our CD is just kind of hitting the stores - we've kind of done that without any retail distribution so far. : It was all through the Internet and our venue sales. The times they are a changing, I would say.

4 POINTS: Is that shift good or bad or just different?

TL: It's just different. I think with the accessibility of the Internet : people probably have more access to our music than they would in the past because of the way the record companies used to operate even 10 years ago. If you didn't have your record in the stores, you were kind of out of luck.

We have probably 150,000 profile views and probably 50,000 friends on our MySpace, so we network through that, and we network through our Web site.

To me, I think back in the kind of 1980s, when the independent record labels like Sub Pop out of Seattle, they kind of branched out and were selling independent artists on their own, competing with big labels. And then the big labels put them out.

Now there's a new outlet for independents through the Internet, so it makes it better for independent artists.

4 POINTS: And that change is working for you guys.

TL: We don't have to rely on record labels because they kind of rely on sort of a formula.

It's all throwaway stuff to them now, the big labels. If somebody doesn't hit it right off the bat, they'll just drop them. So we can kind of control our own destiny; we can promote as much as we want or as little as we want.

It's a lot of work, but it's a labor of love, so we feel pretty lucky to be doing this.

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