Last night I traveled down to St. Augustine with Liy Kuonen and Jim Benedict, two artists and professors of art at Jacksonville University, to see Langhorne Slim perform as part of the Sing Out Loud Festival. With the assistance of some major community supporters and sponsors, the festival stretches over three consecutive weekends, features hundreds of local, regional, and national performers, takes place at venues throughout St. Augustine, and is FREE to attend.
It was in the mid 2000s when I first started listening to Langhorne Slim, probably sometime between 2006 and 2008. I was living in Erie, Pennsylvania at the time and the city had a strong independent folk scene. A younger generation of musicians were at the helm of the scene - musicians like Gabe Poland, Matt Texter, Zac Lucas, and Jake Johnson. BrewErie hosted an open mic every Thursday night and seeing those gentleman perform live every week was something I truly looked forward to.
I never saw Langhorne Slim perform live even though I had been listening to his music for nearly a decade. Last night's performance was on an outdoor stage under a giant oak tree. A symphony of cicadas could be heard in the distance when Slim took to the stage for his solo performance.
Slim, towards the end of his set, reached into his pocket and pulled out a sweat soaked piece of white printer paper. He informed the crowd that he wanted to take a moment and read something to them. On the page was an excerpt from James Kavanaugh's book "There Are Men Too Gentle To Live Among Wolves." This led to Slim performing his song "Wolves," which was inspired by the words of Kavanaugh, which can be found below.
“I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know - unless it be to share our laughter.
We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.
For wanderers, dreamers, and lovers, for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful. It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.”
- James Kavanaugh, "Men Too Gentle To Live Among Wolves."
I've never before read something that so sincerely felt like it was written about me.