Thursday, August 18, 2011
Richmond Fontaine- The High Country
Richmond Fontaine is not an individual but a four-piece band from Portland, OR. Apparently, the band name derives from a chance encounter with an ex-pat/hippy that helped out Fontaine frontman Willy Vlautin (who is also a published novelist and originally hails from Biggest Little City in the World, Reno, NV), when he had a flat tire in Baja, Mexico. This is a folksy, rootsy concept album based on the love story of a mechanic and a girl in a rural logging town in Oregon. Sounds like a blast, huh? Vlautin is like the roots rock version of The Hold Steady's Craig Finn. Or a high desert version of Uncle Tupelo's Jay Farrar, except Vlautin replaces struggling miners with struggling loggers. He talk-sings through his novella songs with a raspy voice that sounds like it's been driving on a gravel road for three days. A narrator supplies the voice for the female character on three songs, but not in a Nancy Sinatra/ Lee Hazlewood kind of way, and it comes off sounding wonky. For those who have always wanted to combine a Danielle Steele audiobook with an Uncle Tupelo record, congratulations, you've found a home!
Buy this record if you like listening to audio books while driving to your logging job in some rural Oregon community.