Timothy Langford bought his first guitar when he was 13 or 14 years old.
He doesn’t remember the exact model. But he does remember that he paid for it using money he’d saved up mowing lawns.
And that he was in love.
“Once I started playing guitar, I was obsessed. I never put it down. I was the kind of guy who fell asleep playing,” Langford said.
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Now 56, he fronts the blues rock band Too Slim & the Taildraggers.
The group will be in the Tri-Cities next weekend for UnTapped Blues & Brews, a two-day festival of music and beer. It starts May 8 at Clover Island Inn in Kennewick and continues the next day at the Benton County Fairgrounds.
Langford, who got the nickname “Too Slim” years ago, has played UnTapped before.
He’s based in Nashville now, but he grew up in Spokane and said traveling back to Eastern Washington is fun.
So is playing the Tri-Cities’ biggest blues event.
“It’s a great festival,” Langford said. “And we always enjoy playing wherever anybody wants us to.”
Too Slim & the Taildraggers are headlining May 8 at Clover Island, with The Wasteland Kings and Lloyd Jones and the Struggle also set to take the stage that night. The Grammy Award-winning Taj Mahal headlines the May 9 show at the fairgrounds with his Taj Mahal Trio. Other acts playing the d’s Wicked Cider stage range from Rubberneck to Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps.
UnTapped also will have a second outdoor stage this year, showcasing a mix of country and rock acts.
With the festival, “We’ll always stay with our blues roots, but we’d like to add a broader package for folks,” said Al Holman, live events manager for Townsquare Media, which is producing UnTapped Blues & Brews.
The presenting sponsor is Mid-Valley Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram.
Langford hasn’t stopped since he got that first guitar as a teen. He’s put out numerous albums, from solo efforts to records with the Taildraggers, including the award-winning two-disc Anthology. Langford is working on new music now, some of which is inspired by a health issue last year. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine check up.
The musician had surgery and is now cancer-free, but dealing with that kind of scare has an effect, he said.
“I wrote a bunch of songs,” he said. “I tried to spend my downtime wisely.”
The band likely won’t play that new music during UnTapped, but expects to release it later this year.
Along with Langford, who plays guitar and sings, the group includes Eric “Stretch” Hanson on bass and vocals and Jeffrey “Shakey” Fowlkes on drums.
Audiences should expect a high-energy show, Langford said.
He likes writing and recording music, but there’s nothing like playing in front of a live crowd, he said.
“You always try to get in a certain zone — you’re just thinking about the music and are kind of lost in it,” he said. “You get the perfect synergy of the crowd, and the band is playing good and you’re getting the perfect sound out of your instrument. It’s a good feeling.”
Tickets for UnTapped are available at www.UnTappedblues.com, at the Kennewick Ranch & Home and the two Ice Harbor Brewing Co. locations, and at the door. A two-day pass is $50. Tickets for just the May 8 show are $20 and just the May 9 show are $35 in advance or $40 at the door. VIP tickets and camping passes are available.