Richmond Fontaine debuted the video for "Lost in the Trees" today. The song is the first single from the band’s forthcoming song-novel concept album, The High Country, out September 20th on El Cortez Records. You can see the video, directed by Gary Lundgren, here: [youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=3mBWHXCPoGg]
The unique record is already drawing rave reviews from UK press, with Q Magazine giving it 4 stars and calling it "… a conceptual gem… quite brilliant." The album also earned 4 stars from Uncut, which named it Americana album of the Month and called it "Murderously good rural-noir….The music is skillfully measured, teetering emotions reflected in sudden squalls of garagey rock, broody folk-country and intermittent passages of relative acoustic calm…as disquieting as it is utterly compelling."
Richmond Fontaine will celebrate the release of The High Country with a show at the Star Theater in Portland, OR on October 7th.
An operatically tragic tale is told in Richmond Fontaine’s tenth studio album. More than a concept piece, the Portland, Oregon four-piece has crafted a song-novel, in which a gripping tale is spun with fully fleshed-out characters, changing scenes, snippets of radio and spoken word passages. Deborah Kelly, of the Austin-based band the Damnations, contributes guest vocals to four tracks and brings the character, simply called, "The Girl," to life. Producer and film scorer John Askew lends his knack for creating atmosphere and sonic depth to the record.
Richmond Fontaine’s frontman, Willy Vlautin, is a published novelist whose 2006 debut, The Motel Life, has just been turned into a major motion directed by the Polsky Brothers and starring Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff and Kris Kristofferson. To date Vlautin has published two more novels: Northline (2008), which was a San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Bestseller, and Lean on Pete (2010), which won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and was Hot Press’s book of the year. With Richmond Fontaine’s latest album, he has combined that story-telling prowess with his songwriting gift to stunning effect.
Set in a rural logging community in Oregon, The High Country is a gothic love story between a mechanic and an auto parts store counter girl, whose secret love inspires an effort to escape the darkness of the world that surrounds them. It’s a world of drugs, violence, madness, loneliness and desperation set against a backdrop of endless roads and the remains of a forest brutalized by logging. In this story of light versus dark, Vlautin has woven a tale where screw-ups and freaks terrorize the lives of innocents.
"The High Country is gothic," explains Vlautin. "It’s a story of dark and light, of romance and violence. The rural Northwest has this normalcy to it, more churches than bars, but behind it there’s darkness. Maybe it’s the weather or that the rural Northwest has always suffered economically, but there’s a subtle kind of gloom that sets over the small towns of the Pacific Northwest."
From stark, romantic ballads and dialogue sequences to raw Northwest garage rock and cinematic songscapes, this album sees Richmond Fontaine’s musical trajectory soar far beyond their cowpunk roots, ably assisted by producer John Askew (The Dodos, Karl Blau).
In addition to The Damnations’ Deborah Kelly (lead vocals on four songs), The High Country features Richmond Fontaine regular contributors Paul Brainard (pedal steel), Ralph Huntley (keyboards, accordion) and Collin Oldham (cello, cellomobo).
Richmond Fontaine are:
Dan Eccles (guitar)
Dave Harding (bass, guitar, vocals)
Sean Oldham (percussion, keyboards, guitar, vocals)
Willy Vlautin (vocals, guitar)
The High Country track listing:
The Girl on the Logging Road
The Chainsaw Sea
Let Me Dream of the High Country
The Mechanic Falls in Love
The Mechanic’s Life
Angus King Tries to Leave
The Meeting on the Logging Road
Claude Murray’s Breakdown
The Eagles Lodge
Driving Back to the Chainsaw Sea
Lost in the Trees
On a Spree
I Can See a Room
Deciding to Run