32nd annual R&B Festival wails and rocks for 3 days
For Tim “Too Slim” Langford, the Winthrop Rhythm & Blues Festival is not just another gig, and those watching and listening aren’t just his fans.
Too Slim was in a familiar role, closing out the big party in the Methow Valley that bills itself as a music festival. The valley has played host to 32 of these events, and Too Slim has entertained at 31 of them.
As the sun set behind them on Sunday (July 21), guitarist/vocalist Too Slim, bassist/vocalist Zach Kasik and drummer Jeffrey “Shakey” Fowlkes played fast, the reverb from one song barely dying out before Too Slim launched into the next song’s riff.
Throughout the set, Too Slim called the people in front of him his friends, and he meant it. He pointed to them, made faces at them or gave them knowing looks. If he was acting like he was playing in his own backyard, that’s because he was.
And if there’s such a thing as feel-good blues music, Too Slim pulls it off. Earlier Sunday, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Shemekia Copeland told bleaker stories.
“I thought love was going to heal my heart / But all it did was add to the pain,” Ingram sang. His guitar did most of the talking, expressing itself better than most ordinary humans can.
Both Copeland and Ingram sang about being left by people who said they would never leave. Falling in love is just one bad decision among many.
“When you’re playing with the devil, you’re playing with a losing hand,” Copeland sang.
Whether Copeland is blue by nature or upbringing is hard to say. She is the daughter of Johnny Copeland, whom she honored by performing “Ghetto Child,” a song he wrote more than 60 years ago.
While her father was lamenting this “so-called free land,” Copeland, ultimately, tried to get it to live up to its ideals in her opening number, “Ain’t Got Time for Hate.”
In Winthrop on a sunny Sunday afternoon, Copeland found the love she was looking for.