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Richmond Fontaine : “We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River”


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Richmond Fontaine and Willy Vlautin’s songs are not overly derivative in any way. It’s all from the heart, whether it recalls the sound of Wilco, REM, John Prine, or a punk rock aesthetic. And the band is a group of superior craftsmen who take care in bringing these songs to life: Dan Eccles’s twangy, vibrato laden telecaster backdrops; Vlautin’s stellar acoustic guitar playing, at turns bruised and melancholy or propulsive and fiery; Dave Harding’s rich and warm sounding bass; and Sean Oldham’s seemingly endless creativity behind the drum kit providing the opening tune’s 2/3 clave, straight ahead rock backbeats, tight snare rolls, and a whole lot of attitude when needed like on the punkish “43.” Oldham apparently also plays the “radio trowel” on the recording: “The [radio trowel] uses a capacitive sensor array based on Max Mathew’s radio baton… The trowel’s movements control sound synthesis parameters…” And Sean’s brother Collin, along with the cello on Freeway, also plays another electronic instrument he developed – the Cellomobo: “A computer music instrument that attempts to model the behavior of a bowed string. It gives haptic feedback to the bow at audio rate…” These guys don’t lock themselves into any single musical box and the music benefits from the openness. The haunting singing saw melody that opens the record is a prime example.

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Richmond Fontaine play brittle and evocative alt-country with lyrics that draw powerful and sometimes troubling portraits of life along the margins of the contemporary American West. Equal parts Uncle Tupelo and Charles Bukowski, or Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown meets the gritty realism of Heartworn Highways, Richmond Fontaine is the brainchild of singer, guitarist, and songwriter Willy Vlautin. The new album, seen as the band’s most accessible yet, was produced once again by JD Foster (Calexico, Richard Buckner, Laura Cantrell), who was at the helm for the last three albums. Multi-instrumentalist Paul Brainard steps in with pedal steel, trumpet and piano and the core line up of Willy Vlautin (guitars, vocals), Sean Oldham (drums, vocals), Dave Harding (Bass) and Dan Eccles (guitars) remains.


We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River
You Can Move Back Here
The Boyfriends
The Pull
Sitting Outside My Dad’s Old House
Maybe We Were Both Born Blue
Watch Out
Ruby & Lou
Walking Back To Our Place At 3 A.M.
Two Alone
A Letter To The Patron Saint Of Nurses


Additional information

Weight 0.480 kg
Dimensions 32.0 × 32.0 × 2.0 cm