Charles Latham

Referencing Monday's post, last December I went and saw The Wigg Report perform at 305 South in Durham. Opening for them was Charles Latham, unfortunately a name I did not know, but one I will not forget.

I was chatting with a few people prior to the evening and asked about Latham. I was given loose comparisons, from a no safety net Rivers Cuomo type to the amazing Daniel Johnston and really had no idea how to interpret this. Everyone has their own interpretation, but I personally find Johnston a genius and an amazing talent so I was extremely excited about that, and even the Cuomo part was intriguing, so seeing Latham perform was going to be a real treat.

When I arrived, I was introduced to an extremely nice, although somewhat shy of a guy, and he handed me his cd and introduced himself. I was excited just by the artwork and couldn't wait to give the cd a spin.

When the show began, I was blown away. Now you know my usual taste. The singer/songwriter who writes between the lines, toting an acoustic guitar, singing with desperation in their vocals. A tri-fecta in Durham when Latham took to the stage. Like I said...I was blown away.

It was so much more than what I'd heard about Latham, and I can see where those comparisons lied, but there is no doubt that this was a one of a kind, this was Charles Latham.

After the show, and what a great show it was, I set off to Florida for the holidays. I brought four cds with me. The Midtown Dickens Christmas cd (thanks again Kym), two The Wigg Report cds, and Latham's Pretty Mouth. It was seven hours down to Jacksonville.

Pretty Mouth is a solid, clever, homespun effort that rides that tongue and cheek line from beginning to end. His lyrics are poetic in a Basquiat way, rising above the sea of exaggerated mediocrity. There's hurt and loss on the record, but pity is not what he's after, it's more an analysis of the human existence and the interactions and follies in this life. There are moments of pure astonishment, beautiful songs, rude songs, and some moments of pure genius as he tackles topics and issues not normally discussed in your everyday tune. Lyrical word play that might offend if you read it, but when crooned by Latham, works so well it's scary. Simply put, Charles Latham is someone you must experience. Whether its at a proper show, his cd on your headphones, or even a street corner (which he does do from time to time), it is essential that these lamented anthems be heard.

Like someone on his myspace asked, "Why are you in North Carolina?" I don't know this answer, but selfishly I'm glad. His music is at the forefront of what this area has to offer and it's exactly what I've been looking for. Below are two tracks from Pretty Mouth for you to sample. As mentioned before, you can see Charles Latham live on February 9th at The Duke Coffeehouse during the Anti-Folk Festival in Durham. Highly recommended!

.: Hard On
.: Nice (To Me)